Commodities, Copper, News, Production

BHP scales new copper heights

BHP South Australia

BHP’s acquisition of OZ Minerals is paying dividends, with operational records falling across its new copper district in South Australia.

The Carrapateena mine, located 100km south-east of BHP’s Olympic Dam operation, achieved record development metres in September, producing 14,100 tonnes of copper in the September quarter. This is a 21 per cent increase on the previous three months (11,700 tonnes).

Olympic Dam, which BHP owned before the OZ Minerals acquisition, mined 2.64 million tonnes (Mt) of material during the September quarter – its highest mark since the 2014–15 financial year (FY15).

This equated to record gold production of 53,028 ounces, the second time Olympic Dam has achieved this in three quarters.

Combined with a 48 per cent increase in copper production at Prominent Hill, BHP produced 71,700 tonnes from its South Australia copper operations – a 44 per cent uplift from the same quarter last year (bearing in mind it only owned Olympic Dam at this point).

BHP achieved a 11 per cent group copper production uplift from the third quarter of 2022, with the Escondida and Pampa Norte operations in Chile also delivering strong performances.

Iron ore production fell three per cent from the same quarter last year, which the major miner attributed to “tie-in activity for the Rail Technology Programme (RTP), the ongoing ramp up and maintenance at the Central Pilbara hub (South Flank and Mining Area C), and the timing of track renewal maintenance”.

BHP said South Flank remains on track to ramp up to full production capacity of 80 million tonnes per annum by the end of FY24.

The miner’s quarterly was released on the same day as the divestment of BMA’s Daunia and Blackwater coal mines was revealed, with Whitehaven buying the mines for $US3.2 ($5.02) billion.

BMA is a joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi Development.

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