File picture: Reuters

Sydney -

Global mining giant BHP Billiton lifted full-year iron ore guidance on Wednesday and posted better than expected March quarter output of 49.6 million tons.

A five-million ton increase in guidance to 217 million tons was the second improvement this year.

BHP said seasonal bad weather in western Australia had “relatively limited impact” on performance which beat market expectations.

Full-year coking coal guidance was also ramped up 2.5 million tons to 43.5 million tons on record nine-month production of 33 million tons.

On Tuesday, rival miner Rio Tinto blamed cyclonic activity for a drop in its January- March production and shipment of iron ore.

BHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie praised the “outstanding results, underpinning a 10-percent increase in production so far this year”.

“Having achieved record iron ore and metallurgical coal production during the first nine months of this year, we have raised full-year guidance for both commodities.

“We continue to expect cumulative production growth of 16 percent over the two years to the end of the 2015 financial year,” he said.

“By maintaining strict financial discipline and a focus on our four pillars of iron ore, copper, coal and petroleum, we continue to believe that an average rate of return of greater than 20 percent is achieveable for our major development options.”

BHP Billiton posted an 83 percent first-half spike in net profit to $8.1-billion in February on the back of spending cuts and strong iron ore production.

Revenues climbed 5.9 percent to $33.95-billion. - Sapa-AFP