TOP NEWS: BHP coal production hit by bad weather; projects progressing

(Alliance News) - BHP Group PLC on Wednesday said it is bringing new supply in copper, petroleum ...

Alliance News 21 April, 2021 | 7:36AM
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(Alliance News) - BHP Group PLC on Wednesday said it is bringing new supply in copper, petroleum and iron ore, while coal production guidance has been lowered after wet weather hit operations.

The global mining giant said copper production in the first quarter of 2020 fell 8% year-on-year to 391,400 tonnes.

Petroleum production increased 1% compared to the year before to 25.4 million barrels of oil equivalent. Iron ore production was flat to the prior year.

Metallurgical coal production increased 4% year-on-year to 9.6 million tonnes, while energy coal production sank 17% to 4.8 million tonnes.

Nickel production slipped 2% year-on-year to 20,400 tonnes.

For the nine months to end March, copper production fell 6% from the year prior to 1.2 million tonnes; petroleum fell 8% to 75.8 million barrels of oil equivalent; iron ore increased 4% to 188.3 million tonnes; and nickel jumped 19% to 66,600 tonnes.

Metallurgical coal dipped 2% to 28.8 million tonnes, while energy coal fell 26% to 13.0 million tonnes.

"BHP's strong safety and operational performance continued during the quarter, with record year-to-date production at Western Australia Iron Ore, the Goonyella Riverside metallurgical coal mine in Queensland and concentrator throughput at Escondida in Chile," said Chief Executive Mike Henry.

"We are reliably executing our major projects, bringing on new supply in copper, petroleum and iron ore," Henry added.

At the end of March, BHP said it had four major projects under development in petroleum, iron ore and potash, with a combined budget of USD8.5 billion over the life of the projects.

Going forward, full-year production guidance for petroleum, nickel and iron ore was left unchanged.

Copper production is expected at between 1.5 million tonnes and 1.7 million tonnes, increased from between 1.5 million tonnes and 1.6 million tonnes.

Metallurgical coal production guidance has been lowered to between 39 million tonnes and 41 million tonnes, from between 40 million tonnes and 44 million tonnes.

Energy coal is also seen lower at between 18 million tonnes and 20 million tonnes, from between 21 million tonnes and 23 million tonnes. Reductions in both metallurgical coal and energy coal guidance were due to wet weather at numerous sites of operation, BHP said.

BHP additionally noted progress on the environmental front.

"BHP continues to deliver on decarbonising, in line with the Paris Agreement goals. We have established emissions reduction partnerships with three major steelmakers in China and Japan whose combined output equates to around 10% of global steel production. In shipping, we have successfully completed an initial trial of marine biofuels, in addition to the tender awarded last year for LNG-powered iron ore vessels," Henry said.

BHP shares closed down 0.5% in Sydney at AUD47.21 on Wednesday.

By Greg Roxburgh; gregroxburgh@alliancenews.com

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BHP Group PLC 1,979.80 GBX -0.81

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