“Robust operating performance across our diversified portfolio in the September 2014 quarter delivered a nine per cent increase in production with records achieved for eight operations and four commodities,” said BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.
“With production guidance maintained across all operations and businesses, we remain on track to generate group production growth of 16 per cent over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year.”
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The global resources company further stated that its metallurgical coal production increased by 25 per cent in the quarter to 13 Mt.
“Total metallurgical coal production is forecast to increase by four per cent in the 2015 financial year to 47 Mt, consistent with prior guidance. Record production at Queensland Coal was underpinned by strong operational performance across the business,” BHP Billiton said.
“The new Caval Ridge mine operated at capacity during the period while the Daunia and South Walker Creek mines also produced at a record rate [and] Illawarra Coal production increased by 64 per cent in the September 2014 quarter.”
However, [DATA BIL:BHP Billiton] indicated that its total copper production decreased by one per cent as lower ore grades, a power outage throughout Northern Chile and industrial action offset its strong underlying operating performance at Escondida.
Iron ore production for the quarter increased by 17 per cent to a record 57 Mt with production at Western Australia Iron Ore increasing by 15 per cent.
“Our relentless focus on productivity continues to yield strong results. At Western Australia Iron Ore, we have completed our major supply chain investments and, for the first time in a decade, we have no major projects in execution,” said Mackenzie.
“With our focus now on maximising the value of existing infrastructure, we plan to reduce costs and invest judiciously in very low capital cost debottlenecking initiatives. These plans are expected to increase total supply chain capacity to 290 Mtpa by the end of the 2017 financial year.”
He added that the group is very well positioned to reduce cash costs by more than 2.3 billion US dollars and to deliver volume-related productivity gains of at least 1.2 billion US dollars by the end of the 2017 financial year.