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BHP Chief Executive Officer, Mike Henry:
“BHP was fatality free at our operated assets for the third consecutive year. Our continuing focus on people and on operational reliability enabled us to achieve near record production in iron ore and to reduce the impacts of adverse weather and COVID-19 related labour constraints in our operations. Cost control remained strong across the business, in the face of a more inflationary environment. Unit cost guidance remains intact bar a change to metallurgical coal which is a function of the lowering of production guidance as a result of significant wet weather and in anticipation of Omicron headwinds in the early part of the second half of the financial year.
We completed major planned maintenance programs in our Iron Ore, Nickel West and Olympic Dam assets. In Nickel West, we achieved first saleable production of nickel sulphate crystals from the Kwinana plant, an exciting new addition to our product suite that will further enhance our offering into the battery electric vehicle market. The ramp-up of South Flank continues to progress well. The Spence Growth project is realising lower than expected recoveries and we are studying plant design modifications in order to lift recoveries to planned levels.
We continued to progress a number of actions related to our portfolio and corporate structure. We progressed the merger of our petroleum assets with Woodside and prepared for a shareholder vote on a unified corporate structure.
We advanced the Jansen potash project and announced a share sale agreement of our interest in the BHP Mitsui Coal metallurgical coal joint venture. We bolstered options in future facing commodities investing in prospective copper assets in the Northern Territory and South Australia and we secured an early stage entry into a world-scale nickel sulphide resource in Tanzania.
Overall we made good progress in positioning our portfolio and performance to deliver returns for shareholders now and into the future.”