Mining giant BHP has left its annual production outlook unchanged despite its iron ore production being hit by labour shortages.
The FTSE 100 firm reported on Tuesday that total iron production dropped four per cent to 63.3m tonnes for the quarter ended September 30. This was a decline from 66.04m tonnes in the previous year.
It said it still expected total iron ore production to be between 249m tonnes and 259m tonnes for the financial year 2022.
The decline reflected an increase in planned maintenance during the period, including on the train load out of its Jimblebar mine.
Temporary rail labour shortages – down to pandemic border restrictions – also had a “minor impact”, BHP said in an operational update on Tuesday.
BHP’s rival Rio Tinto was forced to slash its shipments forecast last week because of strains on the labour market.
The group had two new projects approved during the quarter. These included the Jansen Stage 1 potash project and the Shenzi North development project in the US Gulf of Mexico.
BHP boss, Mike Henry, said the company continued to “skilfully navigate the ongoing challenges of Covid-19.”
The firm progressed a ramp-up of production of iron ore at the South Flank mine in Western Australia and of copper from the Spence Growth Option in northern Chile.
BHP also delivered its first nickel sulphate from a new plant at Kwinana, Western Australia.