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Morning news wrap: BHP Billiton, Hochschild Mining, Soco International

In the FTSE 100, the world’s largest miner BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) reported record iron ore production for the quarter and half year to December, which increased 11% for Q4 and 6% in H1.

In the FTSE 250, silver producer Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) reported an 8% increase in full year production, helping it to record levels, while achieving its target to reduce unit cost per tonne by at least 5% in 2009.

Oil and gas producer Soco International (LSE: SIA) has proposed a placing of 7.23 million shares, planning to use the proceeds to give it additional funds for its development, appraisal and exploration programmes in the next 12 months.

In AIM, zinc miner Connemara Mining (AIM: CON) said a step-out drill hole at the Stonepark North zone intersected more high grade zinc-lead ore, indicating the presence of a continuous zone of zinc-lead mineralisation, while a second hole intersected zinc-lead mineralisation 400 metres south of previous drilling.

Ukraine focused gas producer, Regal Petroleum (AIM: RPT) said total daily field production rates 2,166 boepd (barrels of oil equivalent per day), reflecting a slightly improved performance from the SV-58 well.

African focused nickel and gold exploration and development junior Nyota Minerals (ASX&AIM: NYO) said exploration results suggested that the Tulu Kapi ore body was larger than first anticipated, increasing its known extent to the north and east and contiguous to the maiden ore resource of 690,000 oz (ounces).

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company