Andrew Mackenzie

BHP Billiton has reported a 19% increase in its global iron ore production to 97.8 million tonnes for the half year ended 31 December 2013.

Iron ore production for the December quarter increased 16% to 48.8 million tonnes and production of metallurgical coal increased 30% to 11.54 million tonnes.

The company said that two of its major assets, Western Australia Iron Ore and Queensland Coal, achieved record production levels.

Western Australia Iron Ore produced 108 million tonnes for the December 2013 half year, as the operation benefited from the early delivery of first production from the Jimblebar mine.

Queensland Coal’s production increase was the result of several productivity initiatives, which increased annualised production to 68 million tonnes in the December quarter.

"Six of our major projects delivered first production and our ten remaining projects…are tracking to plan."

Alumina production increased by 8% to 2.6 million tonnes in the half year ended December 2013.

The company’s copper production for the half year increased by 6% to 843,200t, and production of nickel was up 9% from last year to 78,200t.

BHP Billiton chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie said that strong operating performance across the company’s portfolio delivered a 10% increase in production and that volumes are expected to grow by 16% over the two years.

"During the period, six of our major projects delivered first production and our ten remaining projects, which are largely low-risk, brownfield expansions, are tracking to plan," Mackenzie said.

"By maintaining strict financial discipline and increasing internal competition for capital we intend to further differentiate ourselves by achieving a superior rate of return on incremental investment."