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BHP guidance unchanged

BHP (ASX:BHP) has left its 2023-24 production guidance unchanged after making a solid start to the year in the three months to September 30.

The world’s biggest miner did well across all businesses as they completed their normal first-quarter maintenance and other work (which always depressed production performance) to set up what the miner hopes will be a solid year.

CEO Mike Henry said in the release to the ASX that the company remains “on track to deliver full-year production and unit cost guidance at all assets,” including copper production of 1.720 million tonnes to 1.910 million tonnes and iron ore production of 254 million tonnes to 264.5 million tonnes.

“First-quarter operational performance was highlighted by an 11% uplift in copper production from the previous year,” Mr. Henry said. “After completing a typically busy quarter of planned maintenance, particularly at our Australian assets, we are on track to achieve full-year production and unit cost guidance. BMA, in particular, was impacted by planned maintenance, an extended longwall move, and low opening inventory following drawdowns in the prior year.”

He said the Jansen potash project’s first stage in Canada “is approximately one-third complete after a productive summer. In South Australia, we saw strong operational performance in the first full quarter of production for the new province as we bring our copper assets together and progress further exploration drilling.”

For the three months to September, BHP reported the following production compared to the fourth quarter of FY 2023:
Copper production down 4% to 457,000 tonnesIron ore production down 3% to 63.2 million tonnesMetallurgical coal production down 34% to 5.6 million tonnesEnergy coal production down 24% to 3.6 million tonnesNickel production down 8% to 20.20 tonnesBHP said production was down from a year ago at WA iron ore operation (WAIO), as a result of planned equipment maintenance and the ongoing ramp-up of the Central Pilbara hub, partially offset by favourable weather following Tropical Cyclone Ilsa in the prior quarter. In respect to its copper production, a strong underlying operational performance, including record quarterly production at Spence, was offset by planned maintenance across Copper South Australia and lower concentrator and stacking grades at Escondida in Chile.

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