Why BHP Billiton (BHP) Stock is Tumbling Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of BHP Billiton (BHP) are plunging by 6.88% to $18.69 on Wednesday morning, as the company lowered its full-year iron ore forecast after a fatal spill in Brazil.

The company's joint venture in Brazil was suspended after a dam burst in November and killed at least 17 people, Bloomberg reports.

Production of iron ore should be 237 million metric tons in the 12 months to June 30 from a year earlier, compared to BHP's July estimate of 247 million tons, according to a company statement.

The Samarco operation has been halted since the dam failure, which Brazil's government said was the country's worst environmental disaster, Bloomberg noted.

"Iron ore production was probably a little under expectations," Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, told Bloomberg."There are no upside surprises in this, and in an environment where the markets are negative on the sector, that lack of upside surprise could create a bit of price disappointment."

Austrlia-based BHP is the world's largest mining company and is engaged in the exploration, development, production, processing and marketing of minerals, such as iron ore, energy coal, copper and aluminum. 

BHP Chart BHP data by YCharts

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