BHP Billiton posted a record US$24bn profit and it forecast strong demand for its commodities.

The world's largest miner by market value delivered a net profit result of US$23.64bn – up 85.9% from the year before.

BHP said it expected robust demand for commodities in the short and medium term, but cautioned over cost increases that tend to lag the commodity price cycle.

However, fixed-asset investment in China, a major market, remained resilient, the Melbourne-based company said, adding that the impact of Beijing's moves to tighten monetary policy were yet to be felt fully.

Revenue rose 36% to US$71.74bn from US$52.8bn.

Stripping out one-time items, underlying earnings before interest and tax in the latest year was US$31.98bn, up 62%.

BHP said that the devaluation of the US dollar and inflation had reduced underlying earnings by US$3.2bn. Iron ore production was a record for the 11th year in a row.

Its Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) division benefited from the dual tracking of the company’s rail infrastructure, which increased overall system capability.

WAIO shipments rose to 155Mt/y in the June 2011 quarter after ramp up of expanded capacity.

BHP Billiton also continued to lay the foundations for longer term growth in the WAIO business with the release of its Public Environmental Review/Draft Environmental Impact Statement that seeks Commonwealth and Western Australian Government approvals for the proposed development of an Outer Harbour facility in Port Hedland, Australia.