BHP posts slide in interim profit lower ore quality from Escondida affect copper earnings

Escondida copper mine

BHP posted an eight percent decline in interim profit today as copper earnings slumped because of declining ore quality at its Escondida mine and a number of production outages globally, said Reuters.

Underlying profit from continuing operations for the six months that ended on December 31 fell to $4.03bn from $4.40bn a year ago, said Reuters citing a company statement. The fall in underlying profit missed consensus estimates compiled by Vuma Financial of $4.2bn.

Underlying profit is watched by analysts and investors as a measure of the company’s performance exclusive of one-time gains and losses, said Reuters.

Revenue from continuing operations rose one percent during the period to $20.7bn whilst revenue from iron ore mining, its biggest division, rose by 2.7%. Copper revenues slumped 17.3% due to unplanned production outages at its Olympic Dam and Spence projects.

Earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization from copper fell nearly 40% in the first half, said Reuters.