BHP Billiton reduces iron-ore target after halting Samarco operations in Brazil

20 January 2016 (Last Updated January 20th, 2016 18:30)

BHP Billiton has reduced its iron-ore production guidance for the 2016 financial year to 237Mt following the suspension of operations at its Samarco joint venture in Brazil.

BHP Billiton has reduced its iron-ore production guidance for the 2016 financial year to 237Mt following the suspension of operations at its Samarco joint venture in Brazil.

Production is now 4% lower than the previous guidance.

Mining and processing operations at Samarco have been suspended following the breach of the Fundão tailings dam and Santarém water dam at the company’s iron ore operation on 5 November 2015.

BHP Billiton said that Samarco is continuing to work on quantifying the estimated costs relating to the incident.

"Production at Samarco for the December 2015 half-year decreased by 25% to 11Mt."

Production at Samarco for the December 2015 half-year decreased by 25% to 11Mt.

The company’s operational review for the half year ended 31 December 2015 highlighted that total iron ore production for the December 2015 half year increased by 4% to 118Mt.

BHP Billiton maintained its full-year production guidance for its petroleum, copper and coal assets.

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie said: "Our operated assets continued to perform well over the last six months.

"Increased throughput at Escondida helped mitigate the impact of expected grade decline and better productivity supported production at Queensland Coal.

"These efforts have allowed us to maintain production guidance for petroleum, copper, coal and Western Australia iron ore."

At the end of the December 2015 quarter, the company reported four projects that were under development in petroleum, copper and potash, with a combined budget of $6.9bn over the life of the projects.