BHP’s December quarter iron ore output hits record 42.19m tonnes

BHP Billiton’s iron ore output in the December 2012 quarter hit a record 42.19 million tonnes, up 6% from the preceding quarter.

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The world’s third-largest iron ore producer is well positioned to expand its Western Australian iron ore port capacity from “the December quarter run rate of 188 million tpy to 220 million tpy”, now that it has installed the last major piece of infrastructure – the fifth car dumper at Finucane Island, it announced on Wednesday January 23.

Its attributable iron ore output from its Western Australian operations during the December quarter increased by 6.5% from the September quarter to 39.3 million tonnes.

The development of the Jimblebar mine in Western Australia remains “on schedule”, with first production planned in the March quarter of 2014, it said.

Jimblebar mine’s initial capacity is planned at 35 million tpy, with the option for expansions to 55 million tpy, according to BHP’s website.

BHP’s iron ore output and sales from Western Australian for the first half of the fiscal year 2013 also reached record highs of 81.96 million tonnes, up 2% year-on-year, and 77.34 million tonnes, up 4% year-on-year, respectively.

Production guidance for operations from Western Australia remains unchanged at 183 million tonnes for FY2013, up 5% on an annual basis.

BHP’s attributable pellet output from the Samarco joint venture in Brazil was up 0.5% from the September quarter to 2.89 million tonnes in the December quarter.