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BHP’s copper, aluminum output up in qtr.

Keywords: Tags  BHP Billiton, Escondida, copper, aluminum, nickel, Alumar, Nickel West, Deepali Sharma

SINAGPORE — BHP Billiton Plc’s quarterly copper and aluminum production increased from the first three months of last year, with output at the company’s Escondida copper mine in Chile rising dramatically.

The London-based miner’s copper production rose 9 percent year on year to 307,100 tonnes for the quarter ended March 31, pushing the nine-month tally up 12 percent year on year to 876,200 tonnes.

Quarterly production at the Escondida Mine rose 61 percent year on year, with the average copper grade mined at the site also rising. BHP is on track to increase production at the mine by at least 20 percent in fiscal 2013, the company said.

Meanwhile, aluminum output for the quarter rose 10 percent year on year to 304,000 tonnes as the company’s Hillside plant in South Africa returned to full technical capacity. However, nine-month aluminum production fell 4 percent year on year on declining production at the Consórcio de Alumínio do Maranhão (Alumar) refinery and smelter in Brazil.

Nickel production rose 1 percent year on year to 42,100 tonnes during the quarter, with the Nickel West smelter and refinery in Australia returning to full capacity. However, nine-month nickel output fell 1 percent to 113,800 tonnes.

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