(Reuters) – BHP Group Ltd BHP.AXBHPB.L posted a 7.2% rise in first-quarter iron ore production on Tuesday, supported by stable demand from China, the world’s top consumer of the steelmaking ingredient.

Major miners have pinned their recovery hopes on an economic rebound by China, backed by Beijing’s commodity-intensive stimulus measures, as the world still grapples with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world’s largest listed miner said it 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.

Uncertainty elsewhere, however, remains a concern. Rival Rio Tinto RIO.AX warned last week that a resurgence in coronavirus cases was putting global economic growth at risk, and that steel production outside China has sharply dropped.

BHP said second-quarter iron ore production will be impacted by work at its Mining Area C and South Flank projects in Western Australia. It kept full-year forecasts unchanged.

Among other commodities, 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.”

Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

source: reuters.com

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