(Corrects year ago figure in paragraph two to 41.1 million
tonnes from 39.8 million tonnes)
SYDNEY Jan 23 BHP Billiton ,
the world's biggest mining company, reported that its quarterly
iron ore output rose 3 percent, slightly under analysts'
Iron ore production climbed to 42.2 million tonnes in the
three months ended Dec. 31 from 41.1 million in the same period
a year ago.
BHP is one of three mega-iron ore miners along with Brazil's
Vale and Rio Tinto that together
account for two-thirds of the global seaborne iron ore trade.
Analysts had pegged BHP's December-quarter production at
between 45 million and 49 million tonnes, based on shipping
export data from the Port Authority of Port Hedland.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Gary Hill and Paul Tait)