Declining production was the norm across BHP Billiton’s most important divisions during fiscal 2016, but that didn’t stop booming production in some of the company’s lower profile product groups.
The miner’s production of gold, for example, soared 21 per cent higher than the previous year to 226,682 ounces, with about 20 per cent of that owned by joint venture partners.
That was BHP’s biggest haul of the lustrous metal since it produced 286,971 ounces in the 2002 financial year. BHP does not own any gold mines per se, but produces gold as a byproduct at two mines better known for their copper; Escondida in Chile and Olympic Dam in South Australia.
The 12 per cent rise in gold production at Olympic Dam was timely, given the Australian denominated gold price has traded near record highs during the past six months, and it coincided with increased production of copper at the mine.
Based on its output during fiscal 2016, BHP ranks as one of the top 10 gold producers on the ASX behind the likes of Newcrest Mining, Evolution, Northern Star, St Barbara, Regis Resources, OceanaGold and Resolute Mining.
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