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BHP's fiscal Q2'20 iron ore, copper output rise YOY

BHP Group said Jan. 21 that iron ore production in the second quarter of its fiscal 2020 totaled 60.40 million tonnes, up 4% from a year ago.

The results were attributed to reflected record production at the Jimblebar mine and the impact of the train derailment in the December 2018 half. This was partly offset by a major car dumper maintenance campaign completed in October 2019. Production was down 1% compared to the September 2019 quarter.

Copper production in the quarter increased 9% to 455,000 tonnes as strong concentrator throughput at the Escondida copper mine more than offset the impact from social unrest in Chile. The company also noted increased output at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.

Zinc production in the three months slipped 7% to 22,483 tonnes, while uranium production totaled 949 tonnes, a 2% increase. Maintenance shutdowns at the Kwinana refinery and the Kalgoorlie smelter, combined with routine maintenance at the concentrators, pulled down nickel production, which slumped 24% to 13,700 tonnes

Metallurgical coal output grew 6% year over year to 10.92 Mt, while energy coal output declined 9% to 6.08 Mt in the quarter.

For the half year ended Dec. 31, 2019, iron ore output inched up 2% to 121.40 Mt. The miner expects stronger iron ore output in the second half of fiscal 2020, though full-year guidance remains at 242 Mt to 253 Mt.

Copper production for the half grew 7% to 885,000 tonnes. BHP maintained full-year guidance at 1.71 Mt to 1.82 Mt.

Half-year metallurgical coal output fell 2% to 20.28 Mt, and energy coal output was down 12% to 11.73 Mt.

The third phase of an exploration drilling program at the Oak Dam project in South Australia is expected to be completed in the June quarter, after previous drilling results confirmed high-grade mineralized copper-gold-uranium-silver intercepts.