Sydney - Mining giant BHP Billiton on Wednesday reported an increase in iron ore output for the June quarter, but a decline in gas production as projects were delayed on weak oil prices.
The Anglo-Australian firm said ore output for the three months to June rose by six percent from the previous quarter last year, taking the overall increase for the 2015 financial year to 14 percent for a record 233 million tons of iron ore.
“Better productivity will be the sole source of volume growth at Western Australia Iron Ore in the 2016 financial year with production forecast to increase by seven percent and unit costs are expected to fall to $16 per ton,” BHP's chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.
The iron ore price has been weakening over the past few months and fell to $44.59 earlier this month, its lowest level since 2009. Mining majors BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale have continued to lift production despite a supply glut and softening Chinese demand.
As plunging oil prices hit shale gas, BHP has wound back on its gas output, reducing production at its onshore assets in the United States.