BHP lifts FY iron ore production

Mining giant posts sharp increase in fourth-quarter iron ore, copper production; WA Iron Ore hits annual production record.

BHP Billiton Ltd has missed its full-year iron ore production guidance, despite posting a strong lift in fourth-quarter activities.

In the three months to June 30, BHP's iron ore output was 47.689 million tonnes, a 17.7% lift on 40.891 million tonnes in the previous corresponding period.

Year-to-date iron ore production came in at 169.856 million tonnes, a 7% increase on the 159.478 million in the previous corresponding period.

During its third-quarter production update, BHP flagged full-year iron ore production of 183 million tonnes, despite noting a cyclone related slowdown in the period.

Fourth-quarter copper production was 333,200 tonnes, a 7% lift on the 312,500 in the previous corresponding period.

BHP's year-to-date copper production was 1.209 million tonnes, a 10% increase on the 1.095 million tonnes recorded in the year to June 2012.

For the three months to June 30, BHP's total petroleum products production was 59.19 million barrels of oil equivalent (BoE), a 5% incline on the 56.36 million BoE in the previous June quarter.

Escondida, WA Iron Ore exceed guidance

Despite the overall miss, BHP said its two major assets, Western Australia Iron Ore and Escondida, exceeded production guidance and annual records.

"Western Australia Iron Ore delivered a thirteenth consecutive annual production record as shipments in the June 2013 quarter increased to an annualised rate of 217 million tonnes (100% basis)," the miner said.

Meanwhile, Escondida copper production increased by 28% to 1.1 million tonnes, on a 100% basis, in the full year, as the average copper grade mined rose to 1.4% and milling rates improved.