Australian miner, BHP Billiton announced its production results for the financial year 2020-21 ended 30 June. The company’s iron ore production during the year increased by two per cent to 254 million tonnes. This was achieved despite significant weather impacts, temporary labour shortages due to Covid-19 related border restrictions. BHP Billiton said it expects its iron ore production to range between 248 and 255 million tonnes for the 2022 financial year as the company continues to focus on incremental volume growth through productivity improvements.
In the financial year 2020-21, BHP Billiton’s metallurgical coal production decreased by one percent to 41 million tonnes in line with original guidance. Production is expected to be between 39 and 44 million tonnes in the 2022 financial year as restrictions on coal imports into China are expected to remain for a number of years.
Record production was achieved at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) and Goonyella. Olympic Dam achieved both the highest annual copper production since the acquisition by BHP in 2005 and the highest gold production ever for the operation. Escondida maintained average concentrator throughput at record levels despite a challenging operating environment in Chile as a result of impacts from COVID-19.
During the year, the company successfully achieved first production at four major development projects, all of which were delivered on or ahead of schedule and on budget. The South Flank iron ore project in Western Australia and the Ruby oil and gas project in Trinidad and Tobago both achieved first production in May 2021. The Atlantis Phase 3 petroleum project and the Spence Growth Option copper project achieved first production in the first half of the 2021 financial year.
Petroleum production for the 2021 financial year was slightly above guidance. Full year production guidance for copper, iron ore, metallurgical coal and nickel were delivered, as was revised guidance for energy coal. Said BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry, “BHP safely delivered another year of excellent operational performance and its second consecutive financial year with zero fatalities at our operated assets. We set several production records and brought on four major projects safely, on schedule and on budget.”