BHP Cuts Fiscal Year Copper, Nickel Output Goals -- Update
By Rhiannon Hoyle
BHP Group Ltd. said it will likely produce less copper and
nickel this fiscal year than previously anticipated, but stuck to
its production goal for iron ore despite setbacks from a tight
The world's largest miner by market value on Thursday said it
now expects to produce 1.57 million-1.62 million metric tons of
copper in the year through June, down from an earlier estimate of
1.59 million-1.76 million tons.
The downgrade reflects lowered production guidance for the
Escondida mine, where output fell sharply last quarter as Covid-19
infections reduced its available workforce and public road
blockades affected access to the site for both workers and
BHP has a majority stake in Escondida, the world's largest
The miner said it produced 369,700 tons of copper during its
fiscal third quarter, up 1% quarter-on-quarter but down 6% on the
BHP also cut a full-year production estimate for its nickel
business, to 80,000-85,000 tons from 85,000-95,000 tons. Again, it
cited labor challenges in part due to workers isolating because of
The company said third-quarter nickel output totaled 18,700
tons, down 13% quarter-on-quarter and 8% on the year-earlier
BHP said its iron ore operations also faced setbacks, but the
company kept its full-year target unchanged at 249 million-259
"Our WA [Western Australia] iron ore business continues to
perform strongly as we navigate the state's first major Covid-19
wave, and we remain on track to achieve full year volume and cost
guidance," said Chief Executive Mike Henry.
The miner said it produced 59.7 million tons of iron ore during
the three months through March. That was up 1% on a year ago but
down 10% quarter-on-quarter.
Covid-19 infections affected labor availability at its pits,
while the miner also grappled with a shortage of train drivers, it
BHP said its production of metallurgical coal was stronger
because of lesser rainfall than the prior period and improved truck
productivity. Quarterly output of that commodity climbed to 10.6
million tons, up 10% on the year-earlier period and 20% on the
quarter immediately prior.
BHP kept its full-year estimate unchanged at 38 million-41
Mr. Henry highlighted heightened market volatility and rising
inflation pressures following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. BHP
will seek to mitigate pressures by keeping a sharp focus on
operational reliability and cost discipline, he said.
"While we expect conditions to improve during the course of the
2023 calendar year, we anticipate the skills shortages and overall
labor market tightness in Australia and Chile to continue in the
period ahead," Mr. Henry said.
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 20, 2022 19:49 ET (23:49 GMT)
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