BHP: Iron-Ore Mines May Face Covid-19 Disruption When Western Australia Eases Border Rules -- Commodity Comment
By Rhiannon Hoyle
BHP Group Ltd. Wednesday reported a fall in first-half
production of metallurgical coal, copper and nickel, but said
output of iron ore and energy coal was higher. Here are some
remarks from its second-quarter operational report.
On iron ore output:
"WAIO [Western Australia Iron Ore] finished the half year at
near record production levels... despite impacts of temporary labor
constraints relating to Covid-19 border restrictions and the
planned major maintenance on car dumper one and the Jimblebar train
load out. This reflects continued strong supply chain performance
including higher car dumper performance and improved rail cycle
times. The proposed easing of Western Australia's border
restrictions on 5 February 2022 may introduce some short-term
disruption to the operating environment as the Covid-19 pandemic
evolves in the state."
On copper output:
"Uncertainty around impacts from Covid-19 remains as the
pandemic evolves, despite an improved operating environment for our
Chilean assets in the December 2021 half year due to high Covid-19
vaccination rates and continued use of successful control measures
at our operating sites. Escondida copper production decreased...
due to concentrator feed grade decline despite a record performance
for material mined. Pampa Norte copper production increased...
reflecting the continued ramp up of the Spence Growth Option (SGO),
partially offset by the impact of planned lower ore stacking grade.
Olympic Dam copper production decreased... as a result of the major
smelter maintenance campaign in the period. The maintenance
campaign was completed in January 2022 and ramp up to full capacity
is now expected by April 2022 (previously March 2022), due to
Covid-19 impacts on the availability of workforce."
On metallurgical coal output:
"Queensland Coal production decreased due to significant wet
weather, with double the amount of rainfall, coupled with Covid-19
related labor 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
On nickel output:
"Guidance for the 2022 financial year remains unchanged... with
volumes weighted towards the second half of the financial year. The
first batch of nickel sulphate crystals were produced in the
September 2021 quarter and customer certification continues. First
saleable production was achieved in the December 2021 quarter."
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 18, 2022 18:18 ET (23:18 GMT)
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