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BHP sees China driving resources demand for 15 years

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton on Thursday said China's economic growth was resilient enough to drive strong demand for commodities for the next 15 years.

The world's biggest diversified miner derives 30 percent of its revenue from China and while chairman Jac Nasser admitted Chinese growth was slowing, he was confident demand from the Asian powerhouse would continue to fuel the resources industry.

At BHP's annual general meeting in Perth, Mr Nasser noted that in the past 20 years more than 650 million people had been lifted out of poverty in China and another 250 million would move to cities over the next 15 years.

"With employment conditions and income growth remaining resilient, we believe the Chinese government has the room and flexibility to pursue reforms that support its policy of stable, long term growth," he said.

"We expect the Chinese economy to grow at over seven percent next year.

"China and other emerging economies will be the major drivers of global economic growth in the long term, which could deliver up to a 75 percent increase in demand for some commodities over the next 15 years," he added.

"Only a few countries in the world are well placed to supply this increased demand for commodities, and Australia is one of them."

BHP's net profit slumped 29.5 percent to $10.88 billion in the year to June, with the company citing slowing global growth and commodity price volatility.

But production in the July-September quarter was higher than analysts expected and BHP, which employs 128,000 people in 26 countries, lifted its key iron ore production guidance for the 2014 financial year to 212 million tonnes.

BHP said that moving forward it remained focused on the four pillars of petroleum, copper, coal and iron ore -- a commodity that has been subject to volatile prices over the past 18 months due to a slowdown in activity in China.

Nasser added that while he was confident in China, a continued recovery in the US market and strong growth in Asia generally, conditions in Europe remained challenging.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131121/bhp-sees-china-driving-resources-demand-15-years