In its Operational Review for the year ended 30 June 2022, BHP has reported that total copper production decreased by four per cent to 1,574 kt. Production for the 2023 financial year is expected to be between 1,635 and 1,825 kt.
Escondida copper production decreased by six per cent to 1,004 kt primarily due to higher than expected concentrator feed grade decline of four per cent, public road blockades affecting access to site for both workers and supplies, and the impact of a reduced operational workforce from COVID-19.
Despite these challenges, Escondida achieved record material mined for the 2022 financial year and near record concentrator throughput of 367 ktpd. Production is expected to increase to between 1,080 and 1,180 kt for the 2023 financial year and reflects an expected increase in concentrator feed grade compared to the 2022 financial year.
Medium term guidance of 1.2 Mtpa of copper production on average over the next five years remains unchanged, with production expected to be weighted towards the latter years.
Pampa Norte copper production increased by 29 per cent to 281 kt reflecting the ramp up of the Spence Growth Option (SGO), partially offset by the impact of lower cathode production as a result of a 14 per cent decline in Pampa Norte stacking feed grade.
Production for the 2023 financial year is expected to be between 240 and 290 kt. This reflects a forecast decline in stacking feed grade at Pampa Norte, the commencement of plant design modifications at SGO and the continued transition towards the planned closure of Cerro Colorado at the end of the 2023 calendar year.
Olympic Dam copper production decreased by 33 per cent to 138 kt as a result of the major smelter maintenance campaign (SCM21), which included COVID-19 impacts on the availability of workforce and was subsequently completed in January 2022. Near record production in the June 2022 quarter followed the successful ramp up of the smelter to full capacity in April 2022.
Average copper grade of 2.14 per cent was achieved in the 2022 financial year as the majority of material mined is from the Southern Mine Area. Production for the 2023 financial year is expected to increase to between 195 and 215 kt.
Antamina copper production increased by four per cent to 150 kt, reflecting higher copper head grades. Zinc production decreased by 15 per cent to 123 kt reflecting lower zinc head grades. Copper production of between 120 and 140 kt, and zinc production of between 115 and 135 kt is expected for the 2023 financial year.