BHP's quarterly Australian iron ore shipments slipped 8%
Miner BHP (NYSE:BHP) reported FQ3 iron ore shipments fell 8% Q/Q, as production was slowed by labor shortages and COVID-related absenteeism, which it says will remain a risk for the rest of the year.
In its quarterly operations review, BHP (BHP) said iron ore sales from its Western Australia operations totaled 67.1M metric tons, meeting the analyst consensus forecast of 67.2M tons, while iron ore production of 59.7M tons was up 1% Y/Y but down 10% Q/Q.
The company kept its full-year iron ore output target unchanged at 249M-259M tons but cut guidance for copper and nickel production.
After producing 369.7K tons of copper during Q3, down 6% Y/Y but up 1% Q/Q, BHP (BHP) now expects to produce 1.57M-1.62M metric tons of copper in the year through June, down from an earlier estimate of 1.59M-1.76M tons, reflecting lower production guidance for the Escondida mine, the world's largest copper mine, which is grappling with labor availability due to COVID-19 infections and public road blockades.
Again citing labor challenges, BHP (BHP) also cut full-year production guidance for its nickel business, to 80K-85K tons from a previous forecast of 85K-95K tons, after Q3 output fell 8% Y/Y and 13% Q/Q to 18.7K tons.
BHP (BHP) maintained its full-year estimate for metallurgical coal production unchanged at 38M-41M tons, after Q3 output increased 10% Y/Y and 20% Q/Q to 10.6M tons, citing less rainfall than in Q2 and improved truck productivity.
Australian mining peer Rio Tinto also reported lower quarterly iron ore production.