BHP Group PLC (LSE:BHP) reported lower iron ore production in the quarter to end September, due to planned maintenance work and the impact of temporary rail labour shortage, but kept its full-year guidance unchanged unlike its rival Rio Tinto PLC (LSE:RIO).
Iron ore production for the world’s largest miner fell 4% from the year-earlier quarter to 63.3 million tonnes (Mt), but guidance for the 2022 financial year remained at 249-259Mt. Last week, Rio Tinto lowered its full-year output guidance after running into difficulties at its Pilbara operations in Australia.
BHP kept all of its production and unit cost guidance unchanged for the 2022 financial year.
Total petroleum production in the quarter increased 3% to 27.5 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Last August, BHP unveiled plans to merge its petroleum business with Woodside Petroleum Ltd. It expects the merger to be completed in the second quarter of 2022 and unlock estimated synergies of more than US$400mln per year.
Copper production dropped 9% to 376,500 tonnes amid lower volumes at Olympic Dam, down 43%, due to the start of planned smelter maintenance.
“BHP’s operations delivered reliably during the first quarter and we completed planned major maintenance activities across a number of our assets,” said chief executive Mike Henry. “We continue to skilfully navigate the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.”
“We sanctioned the Jansen Stage 1 potash project in Canada, and made a series of targeted investments in copper and nickel exploration in Australia and Canada. These are aligned with our efforts to increase our exposure to future facing commodities and to position the portfolio to continue to deliver attractive returns and long-term value to shareholders.”