A record coal output from BHP
BHP is pumping out record levels of metallurgical coal from its Queensland business, despite the Aurizon dispute that threatens $4 billion of Queensland coal exports.
And it is expecting an even bigger result for the 2019 financial year.
BHP chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie said the mining giant had delivered a strong finish to the 2018 financial year with an 8 per cent increase in annual production and record output at Western Australia Iron Ore, Queensland Coal and at the Spence copper mine in Chile.
"We further simplified the portfolio with the announced divestment of Cerro Colorado in Chile and Gregory Crinum in Australia and our investment in South Flank (iron ore project) supports our ability to supply low cost, high quality products into Asia,” he said. "Good prices and our culture of continuous improvement give us positive momentum into the 2019 financial year.''
BHP also revealed it had dug up a record 275 million tonnes of iron ore - its single biggest money spinner - during the year to June.
The haul was three per cent higher than it produced the previous financial year.
Metallurgical coal production for the 2018 financial year increased by seven per cent to a record 43 million tonnes and is forecast to increase to between 43 and 46 million tonnes in the 2019 financial year.
An extensive maintenance program is planned for the first half of the 2019 financial year, with a corresponding impact expected on production.
In relation to the Aurizon dispute, BHP said it was encouraging the rail operator to ensure infrastructure productivity was maximised while it awaits the Queensland Competition Authority's final decision on its rail networks.
BHP yesterday also said it would book a $US440 million ($A598 million) charge in its financial results due next month relating to the 2015 dam disaster at the Samarco mine in Brazil that killed 19 people.
Shares in the company rallied 3.3 per cent to $33.57.