BHP says copper production down in March quarter due to challenges in Chile, lowers guidance
(Kitco News) - BHP reported Thursday that its total copper production decreased by 6% year-over-year to 370 kt in March quarter 2022 as the company experienced a challenging operating environment due to a reduction in its operational workforce as a result of a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Chile.
The company said that copper production at Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, decreased by 9% to 226 kt primarily due to grade decline in the current mining area, the impact of a reduced operational workforce from COVID-19 and public road blockades associated with social unrest affecting access to site for both workers and supplies.
Importantly, the company noted that its copper production guidance for the 2022 financial year has been lowered to between 1,570 and 1,620 kt, from between 1,590 and 1,760 kt, which reflects lowered production guidance for Escondida.
The company’s total iron ore production was in line with the prior period at 80 Mt. Production guidance for the 2022 financial year remains unchanged at between 249 and 259 Mt.
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Metallurgical coal production increased by 10% to 11 Mt. Queensland Coal production guidance for the 2022 financial year remains unchanged at between 38 and 41 Mt.
Nickel West production decreased by 8% to 19 kt due to the impacts of COVID-19 related labour absenteeism and workforce shortages in the March 2022 quarter.
The company’s nickel production guidance for the 2022 financial year has been lowered to between 80 and 85 kt from between 85 and 95 kt, largely reflecting the impact from COVID-19 related labour constraints.