* BHP says beats FY2014 iron ore target by 4 percent
* Says FY2015 iron ore output to rise further 20 mln/t to
* Copper, metallurgical coal output also set to rise in
(Adds details, prices, CEO quotes)
By James Regan
SYDNEY, July 23 BHP Billiton beat its
own guidance for full-year iron ore output, saying it mined a
record 225 million tonnes in fiscal 2014, 4 percent ahead of its
forecast, leading productivity gains across a number of
The world's third-biggest supplier of iron ore forecast a
further climb in production of the steelmaking material in
fiscal 2015 to 245 million tonnes as it continues expansion work
in Australia's Pilbara iron ore belt.
"Our focus on productivity has resulted in a significant
improvement in operating performance at each of our major
businesses this year, with a 9 percent increase in group
production and record output at 12 operations," BHP's chief
executive, Andrew Mackenzie said in the group's production
"We expect to maintain strong momentum and remain on track
to generate group production growth of 16 percent over the two
years to the end of the 2015 financial year," he said.
Iron ore output in the final quarter of the fiscal period
rose 19 percent to 56.6 million tonnes versus the same period a
year ago, BHP said.
The miner is relying on iron ore for the lion's share of
fiscal 2014 earnings, which face pressure from
weaker-than-expected ore prices, which fell 30 percent between
Jan. 1 and June 30.
Iron ore for immediate delivery to China .IO62-CNI=SI
stood at $95.40 a tonne on Wednesday, recovering modestly from a
mid-June low of $89, the lowest in 21 months.
BHP, which needs an iron ore price of about $45 a tonne to
stay in the black, said it sold its iron ore for an average $103
a tonne in fiscal 2014, down 6 percent on the $110 average sales
price the prior year.
Despite the price volatility, mega miners such as BHP, Rio
Tinto and Brazil's Vale are ramping
up output, aiming drive down production costs through economies
BHP said its metallurgical coal production of 45 million
tonnes in fiscal 2014 exceeded full-year guidance, with its
Queensland Coal division in Australia hitting record production
and sales volumes. It expects to produce 47 million tonnes in
Copper production increased to 1.7 million tonnes in fiscal
2014 and would rise to 1.8 million in the current year, BHP
BHP said it would take a charge of $900 million to $1.3
billion in its second-half EBIT (earnings before interest and
tax) in relation to costs for mine rehabilitation work,
redundancies and business closures.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin)