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BHP reports flat and declining coal production for September quarter 2017

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World Coal,

BHP has reported metallurgical coal production for the September 2017 quarter was flat at 11 million t. The company’s guidance for the 2018 financial year remains unchanged at between 44 – 46 million t.

At Queensland Coal, mining operations have recovered following the impacts of Cyclone Debbie, with record production at Saraji and increased production at Peak Downs and Caval Ridge, underpinned by an improvement in trucking hours and utilisation of latent wash plant capacity. This was offset by lower production at Broadmeadow due to difficult roof conditions.

The Caval Ridge Southern Circuit project is progressing according to plan, with production expected to ramp-up early in the 2019 financial year.

The mining giant’s thermal coal production for the September 2017 quarter decreased by 2% to 7 million t. Guidance for BHP’s thermal coal for the 2018 financial year is unchanged at approximately 29 – 30 million t.

New South Wales thermal coal production increased by 7% as it benefitted from improved stripping performance and additional bypass coal. This was offset by a 15% decrease in volumes at Cerrejón, which was constrained following the impact of extreme wet weather at the end of June 2017.

In the company’s news release detailing their production results, BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said: “Our performance in the first quarter keeps us on track to deliver seven per cent volume growth in the 2018 financial year. We manage the portfolio for value and returns. Our transition to lower-cost, high-return, latent capacity projects is delivering results, with first copper production achieved from the Los Colorados Extension project at Escondida and Olympic Dam’s Southern Mining Area during the quarter. Major development work has commenced on the recently approved growth projects, Mad Dog Phase 2 and the Spence Growth Option, with both set to become operational as their respective markets in oil and copper rebalance.”

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