BHP’s iron ore operations in Western Australia delivered a record production of 146 million tonnes in the second half of last year.

The company’s iron ore business includes iron ore mines, rail and port operations in the Pilbara region.

BHP CEO Mike Henry said the company delivered a “safe and reliable” operating performance.

“WA Iron Ore (WAIO) delivered record production for the half year through strong supply chain performance, supported by the ongoing ramp-up at South Flank,” he said.

BHP said South Flank is its biggest and most advanced iron ore mine. The South Flank project commenced in mid-2018 and delivered its first ore in May 2021.

The South Flank mine is around nine kilometres south of BHP’s Mining Area C facility. The company intends for both facilities to form an iron ore hub capable of producing 145 million tonnes of iron ore each year.

BHP said South Flank is on track to ramp up to full production capacity of 80 million tonnes per annum by the end of the 2024 financial year.

The company said in its operational update that WAIO production guidance for the 2023 financial year (between 246 million and 256 million tonnes) reflects the tie-in of the port debottlenecking project at BHP’s Nelson Point operations in Port Hedland.

BHP awarded a contract for the debottlenecking project in January last year, and expects completion in 2024. The project aims to uplift port capacity and includes the extension of the South Yard stockyard and new infrastructure.

Commenting on the company’s results for the half year ending 31 December, Mr Henry also noted coal production in Queensland was impacted by heavy rainfall, and there were some wider-spread issues.

“As foreshadowed, we are seeing the impact of inflation across our global supply chains and continue to focus on productivity and controllable costs,” he said.

Mr Henry also highlighted the scheme implementation deed BHP signed in December last year to acquire a South Australian mining company.

“BHP’s scheme implementation deed to acquire 100% of Australian copper producer OZ Minerals received unanimous support from the OZ Minerals Board ahead of a shareholder vote in the coming months.”

Mr Henry said employees and contractors at BHP continued to prioritise safety, resulting in the fourth consecutive year without a fatality.