- Record production was achieved at Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) and Goonyella. Olympic Dam achieved both the highest annual copper production since the acquisition by BHP in 2005 and the highest gold production ever for the operation. Escondida maintained average concentrator throughput at record levels despite a challenging operating environment in Chile as a result of impacts from COVID-19.
- Petroleum production for the 2021 financial year was slightly above guidance. Full year production guidance for copper, iron ore, metallurgical coal and nickel were delivered, as was revised guidance for energy coal.
- Full year unit cost guidance(1) expected to be achieved for WAIO, Escondida and Queensland Coal (based on exchange rates of AUD/USD 0.70 and USD/CLP 769). Petroleum unit costs are expected to be slightly better than guidance. New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC) unit costs are expected to be marginally above guidance.
- During the year, we successfully achieved first production at four major development projects, all of which were delivered on or ahead of schedule and on budget. The South Flank iron ore project in Western Australia and the Ruby oil and gas project in Trinidad and Tobago both achieved first production in May 2021. The Atlantis Phase 3 petroleum project and the Spence Growth Option copper project achieved first production in the first half of the 2021 financial year.
- In exploration, we have continued to add to our early stage options in future facing commodities throughout the year, with the signing of an agreement for a nickel exploration alliance in Canada and of a farm-in agreement for the Elliott copper project in Australia. At Oak Dam in South Australia, next stage resource definition drilling to inform future design commenced in May 2021.
BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry:
“BHP safely delivered another year of excellent operational performance and its second consecutive financial year with zero fatalities at our operated assets. We set several production records and brought on four major projects safely, on schedule and on budget.
This strong performance is a reflection of the capability and commitment of our employees and contractors, the strength of our systems and the support of our business partners.
We achieved production records at our Western Australia Iron Ore operations and the Goonyella Riverside metallurgical coal mine in Queensland. We maintained all-time high concentrator throughput at our Escondida copper mine in Chile.
Olympic Dam in South Australia had its highest annual copper production since BHP acquired the asset in 2005, and its best-ever gold production.
South Flank, the largest and one of the most technically-advanced iron ore mines in Australia, began production in May and will boost the overall quality of BHP’s iron ore product suite. In the same month, the Ruby project in Trinidad and Tobago started production. Atlantis Phase 3 in the Gulf of Mexico and the Spence expansion in Chile began production in the first half of the year.
BHP is in great shape. Our operations are performing well, we continue our track record of disciplined capital allocation, and our portfolio is positively leveraged to the megatrends of decarbonisation, electrification and population growth.”