BHP Group Ltd., the world's biggest mining company by market value, Tuesday said it produced less iron ore, copper, metallurgical coal and nickel in its first fiscal quarter versus a year ago, although output of petroleum and energy coal increased. Here are some remarks from its operational report.

 

On iron ore operations:

"Western Australian Iron Ore production decreased by 6% to 62 million tons, mainly reflecting higher planned maintenance during the quarter, including major maintenance of car dumper one and the train load out at Jimblebar. Temporary rail labor shortages related to Covid-19-related border restrictions also had a minor impact. This was partially offset by strong mine performance and optimization of Yandi's end-of-life ramp-down. South Flank ramp up continues, with additional temporary crushing capacity to provide an ore for rail buffer during commissioning."

 

On iron ore capacity:

"On Sep. 7, 2021, BHP received regulatory approval to increase capacity at our Port Hedland operations to 330 million tons per annum (100 per cent basis), subject to the outcomes of standard appeals processes. Our near-term focus remains on sustainable achievement of 290 million tons per annum, with plans to creep beyond this through productivity in the medium term. To support this on Oct. 13, 2021, the board approved a port debottlenecking program which is expected to commence in the December 2021 quarter."

 

On metallurgical coal operations:

"Queensland Coal production decreased as a result of planned wash plant maintenance at Goonyella and Peak Downs, planned dragline maintenance at Caval Ridge and mining in higher strip ratio areas at Poitrel in line with the mine plan. This was partially offset by record stripping at BMC and a significant uplift in truck productivity at South Walker Creek. Guidance for the 2022 financial year remains unchanged at between 39 and 44 million tons, with volumes weighted to the second half of the year following planned maintenance in the September 2021 quarter."

 

On copper operations:

"In the September 2021 quarter, the operating environment for our Chilean assets improved due to high Covid-19 vaccination rates. However, some uncertainty related to Covid-19 impacts remains as the pandemic evolves. Escondida copper production decreased by 14% to 244,000 due to forecast concentrator feed grade decline. Pampa Norte copper production increased by 59% to 68,000 tons, reflecting the continued ramp-up of the Spence Growth Option, which has brought on a new concentrate stream."

 

On petroleum operations:

"Crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids production increased by 11% to 13 million barrels of oil equivalent, reflecting lower impact from weather events in the Gulf of Mexico, increased volumes from Ruby following first production in May 2021 and the additional 28% working interest acquired in Shenzi in November 2020, partially offset by natural field decline across the portfolio. Natural gas production decreased by 3% to 88 billion cubic feet, reflecting decreased production at North West Shelf and natural field decline across the portfolio, partially offset by increased volumes from Ruby and higher seasonal demand for gas at Bass Strait."

 

On nickel operations:

"Nickel West production decreased by 20% to 18,000 tons, reflecting planned maintenance at the Kalgoorlie Smelter, Kwinana Refinery and the Leinster and Kambalda concentrators in the September 2021 quarter. The first batch of nickel sulphate crystals were produced in the September 2021 quarter and customer certification is underway. We expect first saleable production in the December 2021 quarter."

 

Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2021 18:48 ET (22:48 GMT)

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