BHP Group, an Australia-based mining company, has lifted copper production guidance till end of their fiscal year (June 2021) to 1.53-1.66mn mt following stronger than expected performance at Escondida, according to the company. Guidance for iron ore remains unchanged at 245-255mn mt.
In March quarter, copper production stood at 391,400mt, down 8pc from the prior year quarter. In the 9-month period (July 2020-March 2021), BHP has produced 1.23mn mt of copper, down 6pc from the previous year period. Despite the fall in copper production, the company has raised its guidance for the year to 1.53-1.66mn mt from previous guidance of 1.51-1.64mn mt. The company has said that guidance may be impacted by COVID-19 this year, too. Copper production in the nine-month (9M) period is down as a result of substantial workforce reduction due to COVID-19. Chilean environment only worsened in the year and became more challenging in June quarter. The company forecasts its workforce to remain substantially lower.
Zinc and lead
Zinc production was at 33,299mt in March quarter, up 5pc from the prior year quarter. In 9M, the company produced 109,606mt of zinc, up 47pc from the year prior period. Antamina’s copper and zinc production increased in the quarter given the higher copper and zinc head grades. Lead production in March has dipped 24pc to 468mt from 621mt the year prior month.
Iron ore production in March quarter was reported at 59.85mn mt, flat from the same period last year. It’s 9M production was reported at 188mn mt, up 4pc from the preceding year period. Guidance for iron ore remains unchanged between 245-255mn mt. Volumes are expected to reach the upper half of the guidance owing to strong performance at WAIO.
Nickel production in March quarter was reported at 20,400mt, down by a modest 2pc from the same quarter the previous year. Its 9M production has risen by 19pc to 66,600mt from the corresponding period a year back. A major maintenance shutdown affected production at Nickel West last year. In March 2021 quarter, maintenance was undertaken at Kwinana refinery which affected production in the quarter, and as a result, nickel production is down 15pc from the previous quarter.