SYDNEY, AAP – Big miner BHP has reported a dip in first-quarter output across its Western Australia iron ore operations but says it’s still on track for a strong year.

March quarter iron ore production totalled 59.9 million tonnes, down four per cent from the December quarter, due to bad weather and planned maintenance impacts.

But on a year-to-date basis BHP – which ends its fiscal 2021 year on June 30 – lifted output by four per cent to a 188.3Mt.

“BHP’s strong safety and operational performance continued during the quarter with record year-to-date production as Western Australia Iron Ore,” CEO Mike Henry said.

“We are well-positioned to finish the year strongly.”

BHP is already well past the halfway point for its 2020/21 iron ore output target of up to 255Mt.

During the March quarter, BHP shipped 66Mt on a wet tonne basis.

The price of iron ore currently trades around $US190 per tonne.