BHP Billiton Reports 13th Consecutive Record Year For Iron-Ore

Michael Teague  |

BHP Billiton Plc (BBL) , the world’s largest mining concern, reported fiscal fourth-quarter output results indicating year-over-year increases across most of its business segments.

Ahead of the company’s release of its full-year 2013 earnings report in August, BHP Billiton said that production of iron-ore was up 17 percent on the prior year period, along with gains in copper, zinc, coal, aluminum, and manganese alloy, while production of diamonds, silver, and nickel was down.

The drop in diamond production is explained by the company’s liquidation during the quarter of its share in the Canadian EKATI mine that accounted for some 90 percent of its diamond business. But the increase in iron-ore production echoes the record numbers reported on Tuesday by Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) , the world’s second largest mining company.

Western Australian iron-ore production hit 53 million tons during the fourth quarter, and 187 million tons for fiscal 2013, a figure that is expected to increase to 207 million tons by the end of fiscal 2014. The 2013 figure beat expectations by almost 4 million tons, and marks the 13th consecutive year that the company has posted record iron-ore production.

Meanwhile, copper production increased 7 percent year-over-year to 333 million tons. The result hat bested expectations, was due to a strong performance from the company’s Chilean Escondida mine.

While the company fell short of its yearly forecasts on petroleum by over 4 million barrels, mostly due to production delays in the Gulf of Mexico, oil and gas production for the recently ended quarter was up 6 percent, and shale oil and gas production in the US was up by 17 percent to 3.61 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Shares for BHP were up 1.6 percent to $56.81 shortly before Wednesday’s close.


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