Mining behemoth BHP Billiton is chugging along nicely this year on its global production targets for its four biggest commodities—iron ore, coking coal, petroleum and copper. BHP’s record production puts it on track to achieve a full-year net profit of A$20.49 billion.
The company announced that a record 35.53 million tonnes of iron ore have been produced in the June quarter—a 7 per cent increase from the previous rain-soaked quarter and the 11th straight annual production record.
Though iron ore is up globally, mainly because of heightened activity in the Pilbara of WA, the company’s coking coal operations still remain down because of Queensland’s torrential floods that plagued the summer season. Those mines are down 28 per cent from the record quarterly production logged in the previous June quarter.
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"The remnant effects of wet weather in Queensland that persisted for much of the 2011 financial year continued to restrict our Queensland coal business," BHP said. "We continue to expect production, sales and unit costs to be impacted, to some extent, for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year."
BHP Billiton’s petroleum division is up 21 per cent, largely because of the integration of the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas, US, combined with strong underlying performance from existing assets, delivered an increase in annual petroleum production, despite the ongoing impact of permitting delays in the Gulf of Mexico. BHP also announced a delay at a West Australian petroleum project, pushing it back to 2013 from 2012.
BHP added that copper production increased during the 2011 financial year as Olympic Dam in Australia reported annual material mined and milling records.