(MENAFN - AFP) Global mining giant BHP Billiton on Wednesday posted record full-year production in its key iron ore operations but its petroleum business was hit by drilling delays in the Gulf of Mexico.
The world's largest diversified resources company also saw solid increases in copper and coal production in the financial year to June 30.
"A strong year of production as two of our major assets, Western Australia Iron Ore and Escondida, exceeded production guidance and annual records were achieved across seven operations and five commodities," the miner said.
Iron ore remains the company's biggest earner and it produced 169.9 million tonnes in the year, up 7.0 percent, although this was slightly below earlier guidance.
In the quarter to June 30, iron ore output rose 17.7 percent on the previous corresponding period to 47.6 million tonnes with the company forecasting production of 217 million tonnes in the 2014 financial year, aided by expansion of its Jimblebar mine in Western Australia.
Copper production at BHP's flagship Escondida mine in Chile also jumped, by 28 percent, over the year to 1.1 million tonnes with the stellar performance expected to be sustained going forward, it said.
Coal output was up 13 percent to 38 million tonnes but total petroleum production was just six percent higher at 235.8 million barrels of oil equivalent. The company had been targeting 240 million barrels.
It blamed extended maintenance and drilling delays at its some of its Gulf of Mexico assets for constrained growth of an asset that has been the company's second highest earner behind iron ore in recent years.
BHP has seen profits hit by weak commodity prices and cool Chinese demand and in May chief executive Andrew Mackenzie outlined plans to slash capital spending by almost a fifth, while increasing productivity.
It followed BHP posting a 58 percent plunge in first-half net profit to US$4.2 billion, hurt by steep falls in commodity prices.