BHP’s total copper production increased by 7pc to 885kt (885,000mt) during the first half of its fiscal 2020 ended Dec 31, 2019, compared to the same period a year ago.
In Q2 2020, copper production rose by 9pc to 455kt compared to the same period during the previous year. BHP’s Q2 output increased by 6pc over the previous quarter. The company’s guidance for the rest of 2020 is unchanged at 1,705-1,820kt.
The average realized price for copper was $2.60/lb, up by 2pc compared to $2.54/lb in H1-FY2019, but down by 4pc compared to $2.70/lb during H2-FY2019. As of Dec 31, 2019, BHP had 345kt of outstanding copper sales which were valued at a weighted average price of $2.80/lb.
Copper production at the Escondida mine in Chile increased by 4pc to 602kt, with record average throughput of 367ktpd for H1-FY2020. It was driven by ongoing maintenance and operational performance improvements. This offset anticipated grade decline and a 5kt production decrease caused by stoppages associated with social unrest in the country.
In November 2019, BHP increased its interest in SolGold Plc, the majority owner and operator of the Cascabel porphyry copper-gold project in Ecuador, by 3.6pc to 14.7pc. During the same month, the third phase of its drilling program began at Oak Dam in South Australia, with completion slated for June 2020.
At 42,937mt in H1-FY2020, zinc production declined by 22pc compared to the H1-FY2019. Zinc production totaled 22,483mt during Q2-FY2020, which decreased by 7pc compared to the same quarter during FY2019, but still increased vt 10pc compared Q1-FY2020.