Iron ore output jumps at BHP

Australian miner BHP Billiton posted a three per cent annual uptick in iron ore production in the last three months of the year, as it kept pace with Chinese demand. The FTSE 100 mining giant produced 42m tonnes of iron ore in the fourth quarter, from 41.1m over the same period in 2011. BHP reiterated its production guidance for the base metal at 183m tonnes, and forecast a five per cent increase in output this year.