BHP Billiton reports increase in iron ore production
BHP Billiton increased its iron production in the September quarter by 2 percent to 48.8 Mt (53.8 million st) as it took advantage of strong prices, Australia’s ABC News reported.
This was the first report to include production from the $3.2 billion Jimblebar Mine expansion, one of four major BHP projects that reached production, increasing capacity to 35 Mt/a (38.6 million stpy). The Jimblebar Mine achieved first production approximately six months ahead of the original schedule, according to the company's report.
BHP’s $1.75 billion project to build a fourth pellet plant at its Samarco operations in Brazil is scheduled for production in the first half of next year and the project is 95 percent finished. The project will increase Samarco’s annual production by 8.5 Mt/a to 30.5 Mt/a (9.3 million to 33 million stpy).
BHP Billiton said in its third quarter operational review that optimization of its Western Australia iron ore supply chain has enabled it to substantially increase its 2014 financial year production guidance to 212 Mt (233 million st).
“Longer term, a low cost option to expand Jimblebar to 55 Mt/a (60 million stpy) and the broader debottlenecking of the supply chain is expected to underpin further capital efficient growth in capacity to approximately 260 Mt/a to 270 Mt/a (286 million to 297 million stpy) (100 per cent basis),” BHP said.
BHP’s metallurgical coal production also increased significantly during the quarter with production up 14 percent year on year, although the 10.1 Mt (11.1 million st) September quarter figure represents a 6 percent drop compared to the June quarter of this year.
The company is maintaining full year production guidance is maintained for coal, copper and coal.