Anglo-Australian miner BHP reported a rise in iron ore and nickel output in Q1 FY 2021 ended September 30, 2020, while its copper output declined during the same period.
The miner produced 66mn mt of iron ore in Q1 2021, up 8pc from the same quarter last year. Nickel volumes also rose by 3pc in the same period to 22,000mt. Even so, the company’s copper production fell by 4pc to 413,000mt in the first quarter of the fiscal year over the prior year. BHP’s metallurgical coal production rose by 4pc to 10mn mt during the same period under comparison.
The company attributed the decrease in copper output to a 30pc reduction in operations at its Escondida mine in Chile due to the COVID-19 pandemic and planned maintenance at its Spence mine in Pampa Norte, which led to a 33pc decrease in output at that mine. This was offset by a 47pc increase at BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in Western Australia.
Despite a good performance and a potential 50,000mt per year copper production from the Olympic Dam expansion, BHP has postponed the $2.5bn project to the first half of 2021 due to high ore processing costs at the moment. The company will continue drilling and exploration in the mine and adjacent areas.