SYDNEY, AAP – BHP’s first-half profit fell by 20 per cent after the resources group cut the value of its NSW coal assets, as it continues to pivot toward a carbon-neutral future.

Bottom line net profit for the six months ended December was $US3.9 billion ($A5.0 billion), down from $US4.9 billion.

The result reflected a more than $US1 billion impairment charge on its NSW thermal coal assets in part reflecting softer “current market conditions for thermal coal”. This and other coal assets are up for sale.

But excluding the charge, underlying earnings rose a solid 16 per cent to $US6 billion on the back of a stellar performance in its iron ore division.

BHP said it had continued to make good progress to address “the urgent global challenge of climate change”.


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“We are committed to continuing to reduce emissions in our operations and to our goal of achieving net zero operational emissions by 2050.”

CEO Mike Henry said the first half of the year was “strong” and the company’s outlook for global economic growth and commodity demand remained positive.

“We are well positioned with a portfolio of essential products that will support a cleaner and more prosperous world while generating sustainable returns for our shareholders,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The coal division recorded an underlying loss of $US201 million for the half-year, mostly due to falling prices for coking and thermal coal.

But the bright spots were higher iron ore and copper prices and bigger iron ore export volumes.

BHP declared a higher interim dividend of $US1.01 per share, up from US 65 cents in the previous corresponding period.