Record iron-ore and coal production at BHP Billiton’s operations – by Staff (Business Day Live – January 22, 2014) [South Africa]

GLOBAL resources group BHP Billiton has reported a strong operational performance for the six months ended December 2013, with production records achieved across 10 operations and several commodities.

Releasing its operational update for the second half of the year on Wednesday, the group said it had maintained strong momentum in the period. Full-year production guidance was retained for its petroleum, copper, iron-ore and coal businesses.

Iron-ore production was up 19% in the half-year to a record 98-million tonnes, while metallurgical coal production rose 22% to a record 22-million tonnes. Alumina production improved 8% to a record 2.6-million tonnes.

“A strong operating performance across our diversified portfolio in the December 2013 half-year delivered a 10% increase in production, and volumes are expected to grow 16% over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year,” CEO Andrew Mackenzie said.

“Iron ore and metallurgical coal were particularly strong and are very well positioned to achieve guidance, notwithstanding the general uncertainty that exists as we enter the wet season,” he added.

Among the highlights of the period were Western Australia Iron Ore, which achieved record production of 108-million tonnes (100% basis) as the operation benefited from the early delivery of first production from the Jimblebar mine, and Queensland Coal, which achieved record production as productivity initiatives increased annualised production to 68-million tonnes (100% basis) in the December 2013 quarter.

Petroleum liquids production increased 9% to 50-million barrels of oil equivalent in the period under review, underpinned by a 72% increase at onshore US, BHP said.

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