PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified giant BHP has reported increases in copper and iron-ore production during the three months to September, while petroleum and coal production fell.
Iron-ore production for the three months to September was up by 10% on the previous corresponding period, to 61-million tonnes of ore, with record quarterly production reported from the Jimblebar mine, in the Pilbara, while port operations and rail network reliability in the region also improved.
“We delivered a 2% increase in copper equivalent production despite maintenance at a number of our operations.
“We are on track to meet guidance for the 2019 financial year across our commodities, except copper, where we have reduced production guidance slightly following outages at Olympic Dam, in Australia, and Spence, in Chile,” said BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie.
Copper production for the September quarter reached 409 000 t, with BHP on Wednesday reporting a 10% increase in production from Escondida during the quarter, which reached 295 000 t, driven by higher copper concentrate output.
Pampa Norte copper production decreased by 25% on the previous corresponding period, to 43 000 t, as a result of the lower volumes from Spence, reflecting a lower stacking rate in May and June, as a result of planned maintenance, as well as a production outage following a fire at the electro-winning plant in September.
At Olympic Dam, production decreased by 21%, to 33 000 t as a result of an unplanned acid plant outage in August.
For the full year, BHP is targeting a copper production of between 1.62-million and 1.7-million tonnes.
Meanwhile, petroleum production for the three months to September was down 1% on the previous corresponding period to 33-million barrels of oil equivalent.
Crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids production was down by 7%, to 14-million barrels of oil equivalent owing to natural field decline across the portfolio and a 70-day planned dry dock maintenance at Pyrenees, while natural gas production increased by 5% to 112-billion cubic feet, reflecting increased tax barrels at Trinidad and Tobago.
“In petroleum, we have extended our exploration success and encountered hydrocarbons in three wells. The Onshore US sale process is progressing to plan and is expected to be completed by the end of October,” Mackenzie said.
BHP in July this year struck deals worth $10.8-billion to divest of its Onshore US oil and gas assets.
BP American Production Company, a subsidiary of energy major British Petroleum (BP), has agreed to acquire all the issued share capital of Petrohawk Energy Corporation, which holds the Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Permian assets, for $10.5-billion, while MMGJ Hugoton III, which is owned by Merit Energy, will acquire BHP Billiton Petroleum, which holds the Fayetteville assets, for $0.3-billion.
Meanwhile, BP has reported a 2% decline in metallurgical coal and a 1% decline in energy coal production for the quarter ended September, with production reaching 10-million tonnes and 7-million tonnes respectively.
BHP said that the Queensland coal production reflected planned maintenance across both port and mine operations, which was partially offset by stripping and truck performances at the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance operations, use of latent dragline capacity at Caval Ridge, and higher wash plant throughput at Poitrel following the purchase of the Red Mountain processing facility.