BHP brings on new supply in copper, petroleum and iron ore

BHP’s strong safety and operational performance continued during the quarter, with record year-to-date production at Western Australia Iron Ore, the Goonyella Riverside metallurgical coal mine in Queensland and concentrator throughput at Escondida in Chile.

BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry: “We are reliably executing our major projects, bringing on new supply in copper, petroleum and iron ore. The Spence Growth Option and Samarco are ramping up and West Barracouta, in Petroleum, started production this month. First production from Petroleum’s Ruby project is expected in the coming weeks and South Flank, with its higher grade and lump proportion, is on track to begin production in the middle of the year.

“BHP continues to deliver on decarbonising, in line with the Paris Agreement goals. We have established emissions reduction partnerships with three major steelmakers in China and Japan whose combined output equates to around 10 per cent of global steel production.

“In shipping, we have successfully completed an initial trial of marine biofuels, in addition to the tender awarded last year for LNG-powered iron ore vessels. In our own operations, we have established significant renewable power supply agreements for our Kwinana nickel refinery, Queensland Coal operations, and Escondida and Spence copper mines.”

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Record production was achieved at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) and record average concentrator throughput was delivered at Escondida.
  • Production guidance for the 2021 financial year remains unchanged for petroleum and iron ore. Copper guidance has increased to between 1,535 kt and 1,660 kt and reflects stronger than expected performance at Escondida.
  • Metallurgical coal guidance has been reduced to between 39 and 41 Mt as a result of significant wet weather impacts during the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters. Energy coal guidance has been reduced to between 18 and 20 Mt as a result of significant weather impacts at New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC) and lower than expected volumes at Cerrejon.
  • Full year unit cost guidance remains unchanged for Petroleum and WAIO. Unit costs for Escondida have been lowered to be between US$0.95 and US$1.10/ per pound, reflecting strong production and lower deferred stripping costs.
  • Unit costs for Queensland Coal have been increased to be between US$74 and US$78/(1)/ per tonne, reflecting lower expected volumes for the full year.
  • The Bass Strait West Barracouta gas project achieved first production in April 2021, and is on schedule and budget.
  • The Ruby project in Trinidad and Tobago is progressing ahead of schedule and on budget, with first production on track for May 2021. South Flank is tracking well with commissioning activities planned for the June 2021 quarter and is on schedule for first production in the middle of the 2021 calendar year.
  • Jansen Stage 1 project remains on track for Final Investment Decision in the middle of the 2021 calendar year.

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