UPDATE 1-BHP Sept qtr iron ore output rises 7 pct, guidance intact
* BHP lifts quarterly iron ore output 7 pct
* Says will mine 247 million/t in FY 2016
* Copper output slips on lower Escondida ore grades (Adds iron ore, copper production data, market details)
By James Regan
SYDNEY, Oct 21 (Reuters) - BHP Billiton boosted September quarter iron ore production by 7 percent to 61 million tonnes, while maintaining full-year guidance at 247 million tonnes and shrugging off growing concerns of a mounting global supply glut.
At its projected production rate, BHP will retain its world number three ranking in output and exports of the steel-making commodity, which accounts for more than half its revenue and profits.
"BHP Billiton remains on track to meet full-year production and cost guidance after a solid operational performance this quarter," Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie said in releasing the global mining company's latest production report.
BHP, like its rivals, is working it mines harder to drive down costs and improve efficiencies as demand for its ore softens in the key China market.
Iron ore prices are down sharply from a high of nearly $200 a tonne in 2011 to $52.10 .IO62-CNI=SI. as of Wednesday. The price is forecast to drop to $50 over the next two years, according to a recent Reuters poll Continuación...