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BHP diamond div revenue dips 16.3%
Group profits escalate 63 per cent to 10.5 bn
By: Diamond News Network
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Aug 25 2006 12:00AM
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Reference: 533  

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THE WORLDS largest diversified miner BHP Billiton posted a 63 per cent rise in attributable profit to $10.5 bn for the fiscal ended June 30. The company earned revenues of $39.1 bn, up 25.5 per cent from $31.2 bn last year. This was, according to BHP, due primarily to higher commodity prices.

Revenues from BHP’s diamond and specialty products division fell 16.3 per cent to $1.263 bn, against $1.509 bn a year ago. The diamond division’s underlying earnings before interest and taxes dipped 38.4 per cent to $345 mn, largely due to a 24 per cent drop in the per carat value, and costs involved in processing lower grade ore and moving to underground mining areas at Ekati, Canada, the company stated.

At Ekati, the 2007 financial year will be another transition year, from open pit to underground mining, which will be negatively impacted by lower value diamond production, BHP pointed out. However, the company hopes that, in the medium term, increasing underground production from Panda and Koala will help restore profits to historical levels.

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