SYDNEY (Reuters) - BHP Billiton (BHP.AX), the world’s biggest mining company, posted a 23 percent rise in quarterly iron ore output and said copper and petroleum production also rose, part of a strategy to capture more of a slower-growing market for raw materials.
“Our pursuit of productivity gains and operating excellence is already yielding strong results,” BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said in a statement.
Iron ore benefited from multi-billion-dollar expansion work underway in Australia, that will lift fiscal 2014 output to 212 million tonnes, up from a previous target of 207 million, according to the company.
In its fiscal first-quarter production report, BHP (BLT.L) also said it produced 6 percent more copper versus the year-ago period, while oil and gas output rose 2 percent, helped by U.S. shale gas developments.
BHP has warned mining companies face slowing demand growth for raw materials from China and elsewhere requiring greater emphasis on economies of scale to keep costs down.
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz