* Quarterly iron ore output at 74 mln tonnes
* Miner scraps $2.5 bln Olympic Dam copper growth plan on
* Jansen Potash project costs rise by $272 mln to $3 billion
MELBOURNE, Oct 20 (Reuters) - BHP Group Ltd
posted on Tuesday a 7.2% rise in first-quarter iron ore
production, slightly above expectations, supported by stable
demand from China, the world's top consumer of the steelmaking
As the world grapples with the fallout of the COVID-19
pandemic, major miners are hoping Beijing's commodity-intensive
stimulus measures will deliver an economic rebound for China.
The world's largest listed miner produced 74 million tonnes
(Mt) of Western Australia Iron Ore in the three months ended
Sept. 30, up from 69 Mt a year earlier and slightly above a UBS
estimate of 73.5 Mt.
BHP said, however, that December quarter iron ore production
will be affected by work linking its Mining Area C and South
Flank projects in Western Australia. Its full-year forecast of
276 milllion 286 million tonnes was kept unchanged.
"BHP's projects are on track, and the company is securing
growth options in copper and nickel. No major surprises in this
report. Reiterate Buy," broker Jefferies said in a note.
For copper, BHP's $2.46 billion Spence expansion in Chile is
on track for first production in the January quarter but a $2.5
billion expansion project at South Australia's Olympic Dam has
been canned after extended drilling showed it would not be
The company's metallurgical coal production rose 5% to 10
Mt, while energy coal output slid 17%. The miner said it is
"monitoring for any potential impacts from restrictions on coal
imports into China."
Costs at its Jansen potash project in Canada, for which a
final investment decision is due mid 2021, have climbed by $272
million due to challenges in mine shaft lining and also its
COVID-19 response, bringing total costs to $3.0 billion.
Last week, Rio Tinto warned a resurgence in
coronavirus cases was putting global economic growth at risk,
and that steel production outside China has sharply dropped.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne, Nikhil Kurian Nainan
and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and