SA ‘copper province’ buoys first quarter results for BHP

The acquisition of OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill and Carrapateena copper mines has borne fruit for BHP.

Oct 18, 2023, updated Oct 18, 2023
BHP's Olympic Dam. Photo: BHP

BHP's Olympic Dam. Photo: BHP

In the first full quarter of the South Australian “copper province” under BHP’s ownership, production of the metal in the state has increased by 23 kilotons per the group’s latest results.

Copper production overall lifted by 11 per cent in the September quarter compared to a year ago according to BHP, which said it was on track to meet full-year production and unit cost guidance across all assets.

Integrating the Prominent Hill and Carrapateena copper mines in South Australia – which BHP acquired in May with its $9.6 billion acquisition of OZ Minerals – into BHP’s existing Olympic Dam copper-uranium operation in the region has gone well, the company said.

“We saw strong operational performance in the first full quarter of production for the new province, as we bring our copper assets together and progress further exploration drilling,” chief executive Mike Henry said.

“First quarter operational performance was highlighted by a 11 per cent uplift in copper production from the previous year. After completing a typically busy quarter of planned maintenance, particularly at our Australian assets, we are on track to achieve full year production and unit cost guidance.”

Henry added it was a busy quarter of planned maintenance, particularly at the miner’s Australian assets, especially the seven central Queensland coalmines it co-owns with Mitsubishi.

BHP’s Spence copper mine in Chile increased production by 19 per cent to a record 69,000 tonnes, largely as a result of improved performance at its $US2.5 billion concentrator plant completed last year.

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The first stage of BHP’s $C7.5 billion ($A8.6 billion) Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, is now one-third complete after what Henry described as a productive summer.

The operation is expected to start production in late 2026, lifting Canada’s output of the agricultural fertiliser by 22 per cent.

with AAP

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