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BHP’s Jul-Sep iron ore output rises 10% on year to 61 mil wmt

Mining giant BHP Wednesday posted a 10% year-on-year rise in iron ore production in the July-September quarter aided by improved rail and port operations, while a 3% slip from April-June was attributed to scheduled maintenance.

The world’s third-largest iron ore producer, which operates mines in Western Australia, said its share of production from all assets totaled 61 million wet mt in the September quarter. Including production not attributed to BHP, the projects’ output totaled 69 million wmt, up 8% year on year and down 4% quarter on quarter.

“At WAIO [Western Australia Iron Ore], increased volumes were supported by record production at Jimblebar and improved reliability across our rail network and port operations,” BHP said in a statement

The slip from the June quarter was an expected result of maintenance schedules across the supply chain and works to improve port reliability and performance, it added.

BHP’s share of production at the Jimblebar mine, in which it has an 85% stake, was 16.33 million wmt for the quarter, up 160% on year and up 9% on quarter, the results showed.

The largest of its operations, the Yandi Joint Venture in which BHP also has an 85% interest, produced 16.87 million wmt for the company, up 16% on year and down 3% from the June quarter, the results showed.

The company maintained iron ore guidance for its share of production for fiscal 2018-19 (July-June) at 241 million-250 million wmt, and at 273 million-283 million mt on a 100% basis, it said. That compares with BHP’s realized output in fiscal 2017-18 of 238 million mt and 275 million mt respectively.

RBC Capital Markets mining analyst Paul Hissey said BHP’s production of 61 million wmt was marginally lower than his expectation of 62 million wmt. JPMorgan said in a research note that the iron ore shipment annualized rate for the period of 275 million wmt was in line with its expectations.

WAIO is an integrated system of four processing hubs and five mines, connected by more than 1,000 kilometers of rail infrastructure and port facilities in the Pilbara region of northern Western Australia. At each mining hub — Newman, Yandi, Mining Area C and Jimblebar — ore from mines is crushed and blended to create high-grade hematite lump and fines products.

In Brazil, mining and processing operations at the Samarco mine, in which BHP has a 50% stake, remain suspended following the failure of the Fundao tailings dam and Santarem water dam in November 2015.

Source: Platts

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