Iron ore production of 56 million tonnes was 3% lower than the same quarter of last year with improved mine productivity and record volumes at Jimblebar offset by planned maintenance and lower opening stockpile levels following the June fire at the Mt Whaleback plant.
Copper was the standout for BHP, with a 14% rise in production to 404,000 tonnes the result of increased volumes from Escondida and the start-up of the Los Colorados extension project.
Coal production was steady while petroleum output was 8% lower year-on-year.
BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie said the quarterly performance kept the company on track to deliver 7% volume growth in FY18.
“We manage the portfolio for value and returns. Our transition to lower-cost, high-return, latent capacity projects is delivering results, with first copper production achieved from the Los Colorados extension project at Escondida and Olympic Dam’s Southern Mining Area during the quarter,” he said.
“Major development work has commenced on the recently approved growth projects, Mad Dog Phase 2 and the Spence Growth Option, with both set to become operational as their respective markets in oil and copper rebalance.”
The company has four major growth projects approved with capital costs of $7.5 billion.
Exploration spend during the quarter was $43 million.
BHP shares opened 1.2% lower at A$26.99.