BHP Raises Fiscal Year Copper Guidance, 3Q Iron-Ore Output Down -- Update
By Rhiannon Hoyle
SYDNEY--BHP Group Ltd. said it will likely produce more copper
than expected this fiscal year but less coal, as it reported a 4%
fall in third-quarter iron-ore output because of bad weather and
The world's No. 1 miner by market value on Wednesday raised its
annual production forecast for its copper division, despite
quarterly output falling by 9% in the three months through March
compared with a year earlier, to 391,400 metric tons.
BHP said the Escondida mine in Chile has been running better
than anticipated even as it operates with a substantially
slimmed-down workforce because of pandemic restrictions.
The miner raised its full-year copper guidance to 1.535
million-1.660 million tons. It had previously forecast annual
output of 1.510 million-1.645 million tons.
Expectations of stronger output prompted BHP to lower its
mining-cost estimate at Escondida for the fiscal year. It now
expects unit costs of between $0.95 and $1.10 a pound versus an
earlier forecast of $1.00-$1.25 a pound.
Grappling with weather-related disruptions in Australia, BHP
said it produced 59.9 million metric tons of iron ore during the
three-month period, down 4% year-on-year.
Still, iron-ore output was up 4% to 188.3 million tons for the
first nine months of its fiscal year versus the same period a year
earlier, helping the miner to benefit from a surge in the iron-ore
price to an almost-decade high.
The company kept its annual iron-ore production forecast
unchanged, at 245 million-255 million tons, although it said output
is likely to be in the upper half of that range.
The miner downgraded its guidance for metallurgical coal output,
to 39 million-41 million tons from 40 million-44 million
previously, citing weather-related disruptions in Australia.
It consequently raised the unit-cost guidance for its Queensland
Coal business to $74-$78 a ton, from an earlier estimate of
BHP also cut its annual guidance for energy coal production to
18 million-20 million tons, from 21 million-23 million tons
previously. That was related to weather disruptions, as well as
lower than expected volumes at the Cerrejón mine in Colombia.
Chief Executive Mike Henry said major projects were progressing
well, including the Ruby oil-and-gas project in Trinidad and
Tobago, which was ahead of schedule and on budget.
"First production from Petroleum's Ruby project is expected in
the coming weeks and South Flank, with its higher [iron ore] grade
and lump proportion, is on track to begin production in the middle
of the year," he said.
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 20, 2021 19:39 ET (23:39 GMT)
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