BHP’s metallurgical coal production for the half year ending on 31 December 2021 decreased by eight per cent to 18 Mt (31 Mt on a 100 per cent basis). Guidance for the 2022 financial year has been reduced to between 38 and 41 Mt (68 and 72 Mt on a 100 per cent basis) from between 39 and 44 Mt (70 and 78 Mt on a 100 per cent basis).
The revision is a result of significant La Nina related wet weather impacts during the December 2021 quarter coupled with COVID-19 related labour constraints. Workforce absenteeism arising from the COVID-19 Omicron variant is anticipated to continue into the early part of the second half of the 2022 financial year.
Queensland Coal production decreased due to significant wet weather, with double the amount of rainfall, coupled with COVID-19 related labour constraints impacting stripping and mine productivity across most operations. A longwall move was successfully executed at Broadmeadow and the Caval Ridge wash plant maintenance was also completed on time during the December 2021 quarter.
Following the recent easing of Queensland’s border restrictions, COVID-19 related absenteeism has increased and remains a risk for the remainder of the year.
Energy coal production increased by five per cent to 7 Mt. Guidance for the 2022 financial year remains unchanged at between 13 and 15 Mt. The divestment of BHP’s interest in Cerrejon was completed in January 2022 and Cerrejon volumes are no longer included in energy coal guidance.
NSWEC production increased as a result of increased stripping volumes enabled by continued truck productivity and mining in lower strip ratio areas, despite increased rainfall and COVID-19 related impacts. High quality products now make up approximately 80 per cent of sales compared to approximately 60 per cent of sales in the prior period.