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Falling commodity prices crush miner BHP profits

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Top global miner BHP Billiton missed forecasts on Tuesday with a 30 percent drop in full-year profits despite cutting costs and raising its output of iron ore, copper, coal, and oil in the face of falling commodity prices.

BHP's net profit in its fiscal year through June was $10.88 billion compared with $15.42 billion last year.

A decline in revenue to $65.97 billion from $72.23 billion was "largely attributable to a drop in [commodity] prices, which had a negative $9 billion impact," CFO Graham Kerr said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

BHP increased its final dividend by 2 cents to 59 cents, just short of analysts' forecasts at 60 cents.

Meanwhile, new BHP Chief Executive Andrew Mackenzie also announced a surprise $2.6 billion investment to advance the company's long-awaited Jansen potash project in Canada.

As for emerging markets, "the growth rates of 7 to 8 percent [in China] … are still very healthy," Kerr told CNBC. "As time goes by, China will shift … away from an economy that's building lots of infrastructure to a [country] that needs to have more energy products and food production. And as an organization, we're very well-equipped to meet that growing demand."

Last week, BHP said U.S. authorities have laid out grounds for possible enforcement action against the top global miner for corrupt practices, stepping up a four-year probe linked partly to its 2008 Olympics sponsorship.

The company has been under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice since 2009, mainly over exploration activities that had been terminated and its hospitality at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Kerr declined to comment to CNBC beyond the company's acknowledgement of the probe.

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC. Reuters contributed to this report.

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