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BHP Billiton


, the world's biggest mining company, said annual profit rose almost 86% on record production and robust demand and higher prices for iron ore and copper.

BHP, in a press release Wednesday, said it earned $23.6 billion in the year ended June 30, up from year-earlier profit of $12.7 billion.

Revenue jumped 36% to $71.7 billion.

Analysts were expecting annual profit of about $22 billion.

"Robust demand, industry wide cost pressures and persistent supply side constraints continued to support the fundamentals for the majority of BHP Billiton's core commodities," the company said.

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But it did warn it is challenged by "tight labor and raw material" markets.

"BHP Billiton has regularly highlighted its belief that costs tend to lag the commodity price cycle as consumable, labor and contractor costs are broadly correlated with the mining industry's level of activity, BHP said. "In the current environment, tight labor and raw material markets are presenting a challenge for all operators, and BHP Billiton is not immune from that trend."

The company said it expects "robust demand in the short and medium term, supported by commodities intensive emerging economic growth."

It declared a final dividend of 55 cents a share, higher than forecasts.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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Joseph Woelfel

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