Robust rise in production for BHP Billiton

City A.M. Reporter
BHP BILLITON, the world’s biggest miner, this morning contrasted with Rio Tinto’s cautious stance by posting a forecast-beating 15 per cent rise in iron ore output in the June quarter from a year ago, adding that expects its iron ore output to rise five per cent in the 2013 financial year.

Iron ore production rose to 40.9m tonnes in the June quarter from 35.5m tonnes a year ago for the Anglo-Australian mining giant. UBS had expected output of 38.5m tonnes.

Copper production rose to 15 per cent to 312,500 tonnes in the final quarter of BHP’s financial year, compared with a forecast of 311,200 tonnes from UBS.

Petroleum output, being closely watched for clues on a possible multibillion dollar writedown on BHP’s US shale gas assets, jumped 30 per cent to 56.4m barrels of oil equivalent (boe) from 43.3m boe.

The firm said in a statement it had enjoyed “robust operating performance in a challenging environment”, breaking production records in 10 of its divisions.

But BHP warned that due to a long-running labour dispute which is nearing a resolution its metallurgical coal business in Queensland state had suffered “significant margin compression”.