BHP Billiton has maintained its production guidance for its biggest businesses following another quarter of strong operating performance, as reported in data released by the company for the nine month period ending March 31, 2013.
The third largest iron ore producer in the world after Vale SA and Rio Tinto PLC has revealed it achieved record production and the expected output of 183 million tonnes for the 2013 financial year remains unchanged, despite poor weather conditions brought about by cyclones during the period. Production of the iron ore commodity increased by 6% in the March quarter of 2013 compared to last year. However there was a slight dip of 5% from the previous quarter.
The company reported that an average production rate of 644 thousand barrels of equivalent oil per day was achieved during the nine month period.
“Onshore US produced more than five million barrels of liquids during the March 2013 quarter and the Eagle Ford is now our single largest liquids producing field,” according to the report. Again the production guidance which is 240 million barrels of oil equivalent for the 2013 financial year remains unchanged.
“A 15 per cent increase in liquids production at our Onshore US business during the March 2013 quarter partially offset cyclone related downtime at our Western Australian operations, extended maintenance and drilling delays at our non-operated facilities in the Gulf of Mexico (US) and natural field decline.”
In the production of base metals, copper output was 9% higher from the previous year at 307,100 tons and BHP said its concentrate copper production in its Escondida mine in Chile increased by 61% during period, while its total copper production remains on track to increase by at least 20% in the 2013 financial year.
Meanwhile, BHP attributed its record alumina production to the continued ramp up of the Efficiency and Growth project at Worsley.
In manganese ore output the company said “Record ore production for the nine month period ended March 2013 reflected a substantial improvement in plant availability at GEMCO (Australia), the world’s largest and lowest cost manganese operation.”
Although Queensland Coal production was affected by adverse weather conditions during the March 2013 quarter, the recently installed flood mitigation infrastructure enabled a rapid recovery in performance and the business was operating at full supply chain capacity at the end of the period said the report.
Just last week the company announced that it had completed the sale of its diamond business, including its shares in the EKATI Diamond Mine and Diamonds Marketing operations to Dominion Diamond for a total purchase price of US$553 million.