Metallurgical coal production decreased by two per cent to 29 Mt (51 Mt on a 100 per cent basis). Guidance for the 2021 financial year has been reduced to between 39 and 41 Mt (70 and 73 Mt on a 100 per cent basis) from between 40 and 44 Mt (71 and 77 Mt on a 100 per cent basis) as a result of significant wet weather impacts during the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters.
BHP continues to monitor for any potential impacts on volumes from restrictions on coal imports into China.
At Queensland Coal, strong underlying operational performance, including record stripping at BMA and record production at Goonyella, was offset by significant wet weather impacts across most operations and planned wash plant maintenance at Saraji and Caval Ridge in the first half of the year.
At South Walker Creek, production decreased despite record truck and shovel stripping in the March 2021 quarter, as a result of higher strip ratios due to ongoing impacts from geotechnical constraints and lower yields.
Energy coal production decreased by 26 per cent to 13 Mt. Following a strike at Cerrejon and prolonged wet weather impacts at NSWEC, guidance for the 2021 financial year has been reduced to between 18 and 20 Mt from between 21 and 23 Mt.
NSWEC production decreased by 12 per cent to 9.8 Mt. This decrease reflects significant weather impacts, with more than double the amount of rainfall year-to-date compared with the same period in the prior year, including the wettest March on record, and higher strip ratios.
Lower volumes also reflect an increased proportion of washed coal in response to reduced port capacity (following damage to a shiploader at the Newcastle port in November 2020) and widening price quality differentials. Production guidance for the 2021 financial year has been reduced to between 14 and 15 Mt from between 15 and 17 Mt.
Cerrejon production decreased by 50 per cent to 3.2 Mt largely as a result of a 91-day strike in the first half of the year and subsequent delays to the restart of production, as well as the impact of a reduced operational workforce due to COVID-19 restrictions. Guidance for the 2021 financial year has now been reduced to between 4 and 5 Mt from 6 Mt.