BHP Billiton Raises Outlook for Iron Ore and Coal Outputs

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Anglo-Australian oil and mining firm BHP Billiton (LSE:BLT) is raising its outlook for its iron ore and coal outputs for the 2014 fiscal year, BHP Billiton’s Chief Executive, Andrew Mackenzie said, Wednesday.

In a statement, Mackenzie, who will be in his first year as CEO of BHP Billiton on May 10th, said the company is raising its expected output following record iron ore and coal production, with the wet season having “relatively limited impact” in its operations in the Pilbara region in Western Australia.

This is in contrast with the statement of Rio Tinto (LSE:RIO), which also mines in the Pilbara region, that “seasonal weather patterns” resulted in a three-day halt in production and shipment. (See article here.)

Cyclone Christine, a category 3 cyclone, swept the northern parts of Western Australia, bringing with it heavy rainfall on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2013.

BHP Billiton’s 49,567 kilo tonnes (kt) of iron ore for the January-March 2014 period, a 23 percent increase compared to the same period a year ago, putting total production to 147,387 kt, itself representing 21 percent increase of production year-to-date, compared to last year’s.

“Record production at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) for the nine month period was underpinned by strong operating performance, the relatively limited impact of the wet season and the continued ramp-up of Jimblebar,” the FTSE 100 global mining and oil giant stated.

BHP Billiton operates seven mining sites in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and in Brazil, in partnership with Vale, S.A., the world’s largest producer of iron ore.

“We have raised production and sales guidance for the 2014 financial year to 217 Mt (100 per cent basis). In total, we have raised production guidance for this high-margin business by 10 Mt (100 per cent basis) during the course of the year,” it said.

Metallurgical coal production was at 11,467 kt for the third quarter, a 28 percent increase compared to that in the comparative period last year, putting total production year-to-date 24 percent higher at 33,192 kt.

BHP Billiton has 11 metallurgical coal operations in Australia, with two green-fields mines under construction.

Shares of BHP Billiton rose 0.5% in early morning trading in London. The company’s shares are also listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, where it closed 0.4% higher to AU$ 37.94 a share at the end of trading today.

BHP Billiton also has listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.

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