BHP cuts 2018 iron ore forecast, cites rail car upload problems – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – April 18, 2018)

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – BHP Billiton Ltd cut its 2018 fiscal year iron ore output guidance on Thursday citing issues in its railroad car unloading system, while also slightly raising its copper output expectations given higher production at the Escondida mine.

The miner cut projections for fiscal 2018 iron ore production by 2 percent to between 272-274 million tonnes of iron ore from 275-280 million tonnes due to “car dumper reliability issues.” A car dumper is a machine that unloads bulk cargoes from rail road cars.

Overall, the outcome of the global miner’s third quarter production was balanced as lower iron ore output and eased guidance should be broadly offset by a slight pick up in third quarter copper production and upgraded guidance, said Sydney-based brokerage Shaw and Partners in a report.

BHP narrowed its full-year copper guidance to 1.70-1.785 million tonnes from the earlier range of 1.655-1.790 million tonnes, as production at the world’s biggest copper mine Escondida surged by 64 percent.

Given a boom in commodity prices, BHP is also looking at a significant uplift to earnings, the broker noted. “The latest mark to market for BHP using spot forex and commodity prices – points to 20-30 percent earnings uplift,” it said.

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