BHP Billiton Limited (ADR) (NYSE:BHP) is expanding its iron ore production capacity in the Pilbara to more than 220 Mtpa by 2014, including the development of new port facilities and the Jimblebar mine.

Dual tracking of rail infrastructure and additional ship loading capacity at Port Hedland contributed to the record December quarter performance, the company said in a statement.

The mining giant today reported iron ore production for the half year to December 31 of 80.6 million tonnes (Mt), up 23 per cent compared to the same period in 2010.

BHP Billiton also reported a fall in base metals production for the first six months of financial 2012, compared to the previous corresponding period.

However, copper production rebounded in the December quarter after industrial action hampered the massive Escondida mine in Chile during the prior period.

Also notable was a jump in total petroleum production during the first half to 109.4 million barrels of oil equivalent, up 36 per cent on the same period in 2010.

The increase was due to the acquisition of the Fayetteville and Petrohawk shale gas interests in the United States, plus strong performances from existing assets, BHP Billiton said.

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