• BHP Billiton boss Jac Nasser says it remains "robust and resilient" despite global volatility. (AAP)
BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser has told the company's AGM that the resources giant remains "robust and resilient" despite global volatility.
Source:
AAP
23 Oct 2015 - 3:23 AM  UPDATED 23 Oct 2015 - 7:24 AM

Despite resource shares being under pressure, BHP Billiton remains "robust and resilient" chairman Jac Nasser has told the company's AGM in London.

He told shareholders on Thursday that in a "volatile and uncertain" year when falling commodity prices reduced the company's earnings by over $US15 billion ($A20.79 billion), the management team delivered solid operational results.

A strong balance sheet gave the company the confidence to increase its dividend in line with its progressive dividend policy, he said.

"We are disappointed with the share price. We don't control the share price, there are many other factors outside of our control."

But Mr Nasser said the company could concentrate on productivity, safety and getting the most out of its resources to then make careful investment decisions to drive share value in the long term.

He said BHP Billiton put health and safety first but despite that five company employees died at work in the 2015 financial year.

"This is unacceptable, and on behalf of the board I extend my deepest sympathy."

CEO Andrew Mackenzie told reporters after the meeting that projects were being closely monitored for viability "but for now everything is performing at the level that we would maintain full production".

"We've just come off major investment activity and we can creep production and creep growth for very little investment through productivity.

"Our primary products they're continuing to go into China, our Chinese buyers have no difficulty in raising credit to pay for this," Mr Mackenzie said.

He said underlying attributable profit was 52 per cent lower at $US6.4 billion.

But annual capital and exploration costs had been reduced by 24 per cent to $US11 billion in the 2015 financial year and this year would reduce to $US8.5 billion.

Iron ore, coal and petroleum set production records.

Mr Mackenzie said that in Western Australia this financial year iron ore volumes were expected to increase by 7 per cent, with planned productivity gains cranking up to an annual production of 290 million tonnes.

At the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in South Australia the move into a higher grade area would deliver extra volume at low capital cost.

At Caval Ridge in Queensland's Bowen Basin a new mining fleet would expand production of metallurgical coal as market conditions improve.

Mr Nasser said he was "terribly disappointed" at one questioner's accusation the company could show more leadership on climate change and challenged anyone to name another large resource company that was doing more.

He said the company had an important role to play in limiting the global average temperature increase to below two degrees Celsius.

"We believe that limiting climate change and providing access to affordable energy is essential (for sustainable growth) and those two things have to go hand in hand."

The chairman and CEO were also grilled over the impacts of resource projects on indigenous communities in Indonesia's Kalimantan province, in Colombia and in Arizona.

Mr Nasser said the company was committed to operating transparently and in an environmentally responsible manner.