BHP Billiton sets new output records

 

Mining giant BHP Billiton's iron-ore output grew 9% to a new record in the three months to December, driven by demand from China.

Production hit 27.75 million tonnes, and records were also set for aluminum and petroleum.

Second-quarter output was mostly in line with expectations among analysts, who tip the company to deliver net profits of more than $7bn (£3.59bn) for its first half.

The latest figures are being presented as part of a $70bn battle between BHP and rival Rio Tinto, which has rejected a three-for-one share takeover offer.

The demand outlook for iron ore remains 'very strong', said BHP, which has now reported eight consecutive halfyear records in iron-ore production.

In the second quarter, copper output rose 16% from a year earlier to 348,100 tonnes. BHP said increasing production at the Escondida and Spence mines in Chile contributed to a record half-year copper concentrate output.

Petroleum output also hit a record after the start-up of fields in the US and Australia. Oil and gas production rose 10% to 30.2 million barrels of oil equivalent. Coking coal output rose 8% but thermal coal, used in power stations, fell 1% to 20.6 million tonnes.