BHP Billiton’s Iron Ore Production Shows No Signs of Slowing – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – July 19, 2016)

Miner produced record amount of iron ore from vast Australian operations this year

SYDNEY— BHP Billiton Ltd. will tip more iron ore into the global market in the year ahead, as miners show few signs of holding back output of the commodity despite a worsening glut.

Iron-ore prices have been dragged to a decade low as large exporters churn out rising volumes of the raw material intended to feed growth in China that is now slowing down. It is leading to mushrooming stockpiles of the raw material, the main ingredient in steel needed for everything from cars to skyscrapers, that could take years to clear.

On Wednesday, BHP forecast its vast network of iron-ore mines in remote northwest Australia, the source of much of the global trade in the commodity, could produce up to 7% more in the year ahead versus the prior 12 months.

The miner, the world’s biggest by market value, said it produced a record 257 million metric tons of iron ore from its Australian pits in the year through June, aided by the ramp up of its newest operation, Jimblebar. BHP projected output of between 265 million and 275 million tons in its current fiscal year.

Analysts have speculated whether the world’s big iron-ore producers would start to tap the brakes after watching their earnings shrink on tumbling prices.

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