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Mining Giant BHP Says China and India Growth Will Buoy Demand Despite Profit Drop

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  • Australian mining giant BHP is optimistic China and India's growth will boost commodity demand, even as the company reported a steep drop in half-year profits.
  • "We believe that Chinese growth and Indian growth are going to provide a bit of a counterbalance and support overall growth over the next six to 12 months, and beyond," CEO Mike Henry said.

Australian mining giant BHP is optimistic China and India's growth will boost commodity demand, even as the company reported a steep drop in half-year profits.

"We believe that Chinese growth and Indian growth are going to provide a bit of a counterbalance and support overall growth over the next six to 12 months, and beyond," CEO Mike Henry told CNBC's "Street Signs Asia" on Tuesday.

In an earnings release, BHP said the long-term outlook for the company's commodities "remains strong," buoyed by population growth, rising living standards and the metals demand accompanying energy transition, which includes steel-making raw materials.

His comments come as the miner recorded a 16% revenue drop in the six months ended December, from $30.53 billion to $25.71 billion. The company's half-year profits came in at $6.46 billion, 32% lower than the $9.44 billion in the same period a year ago.

BHP attributed the declines to lower iron ore and copper prices. During the six-month period, iron ore prices fell to a low of $80.03 per metric ton on Nov. 1 while copper hit $3.29 a pound on Sept. 27.

Shares of BHP in Australia closed 0.33% lower Tuesday.

Still, the global miner is optimistic despite slowing growth in the U.S. and Europe.

"As we progress into the second half, and then the year ahead, we're seeing momentum build in China, which of course bodes well for the products that BHP produces," Henry said.

China's reopening and growth in energy transition and automotive industries have stoked demand for commodities like iron and copper, which are significant revenue streams for BHP.

Other investment opportunities

Elsewhere, the miner also sees investment and growth opportunities with South American and African partners.

"There are a number of South American countries, and African countries for that matter, that are aggressively chasing international capital, who've approached us — and others I'm sure —about trying to draw us to the country to invest further and they're offering attractive fiscal terms," he said, without revealing specific names.

He added that BHP is building out a portfolio of growth options, especially in mining deposits that have yet to be developed.

"We have a few of those in South America. We [also] invested in a potentially large, very attractive nickel resource in Tanzania as well."

Henry said that BHP is also closely monitoring the mining royalty bill in Chile, the world's biggest copper producer, while also seeking growth opportunities there.

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