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BHP Billiton reports strong H2 2013 results

World Coal,

BHP Billiton has announced strong results for the half year ended 31st December 2013. Queensland Coal achieved record production for the December 2013 half year, as several productivity initiatives increased annual production to 68 million t in Q4 2013.

BHP CEO, Andrew Mackenzie, commented: “Strong operating performance across our diversified portfolio in the December 2013 half year delivered a 10% increase in production and volumes are expected to grow by 16% over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year. Iron ore and metallurgical coal were particularly strong and are very well positioned to achieve guidance, notwithstanding the general uncertainty that exists as we enter the wet season.

“Our productivity continues to improve and this was most clearly demonstrated by our Queensland Coal business which ran at an annualised rate of 68 million t in the December 2013 quarter. Our productivity agenda is in full swing and we expect to carry strong momentum into the second half of the financial year.”

Metallurgical coal

Metallurgical coal production increased by 22% in the December 2013 half year to a record 22 million t.

Queensland Coal (Australia) delivered record production and sales volumes for the December 2013 half year, underpinned by strong performance across all operations. This included record production at South Walker Creek, Saraji and Poitrel. The business continued to benefit from the company’s productivity initiatives, achieving annualised production of 68 million t (100% basis) in the December 2013 quarter.

Illawarra Coal (Australia) production declined by 13% in the December 2013 half year, due to an extended outage at Dendrobium and a scheduled longwall move at West Cliff in the September 2013 quarter. Operations are expected to return to normal production levels by the end of the March 2014 quarter.

The company’s Queensland Coal business continues to perform strongly, however BHP has retained total metallurgical coal production guidance of 41 million t for the 2014 financial year given the general uncertainty that comes with the wet season.

Energy coal

Energy coal production of 37 million t was in line with the December 2012 half year. Record production at both New South Wales Energy Coal (Australia) and Cerrejon Coal (Colombia) offset the impact of industrial action, lower yields and adverse weather conditions at BECSA (South Africa).

Total energy coal production guidance for the 2014 financial year remains unchanged at 73 million t. BHP Billiton completed the sale of the Navajo mine to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company effective 30th December 2013. As BHP Billiton will remain the mine manager and operator until 2016, the company will continue to report production and financial results for Navajo Mine.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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