Australia Manganese saleable ore production increased by 3% (or 59kwmt) to a record 1,834kwmt in the December 2020 half year as favourable ore characteristics supported continued strong output from the primary concentrator.
South32 also achieved a production record in the December 2020 quarter with an increase in volumes from the Premium Concentrate Ore (PC02) circuit adding to the strong primary concentrator performance. PC02 fines contributed 10% of total production in the December 2020 half year (H1 FY20: 11%).
The PC02 fines product has a manganese content of approximately 40%, which leads to both grade and product-type discounts when referenced to the high grade 44% manganese lump ore index.
With the lower relative price for PC02 fines we realised a 5% discount for its manganese ore sales to the high grade 44% index during the December 2020 half year.
While South32 continues to monitor market conditions and the potential impact from the wet season across the remainder of the financial year, FY21 production guidance remains unchanged at 3,500kwmt.
Manganese alloy saleable production decreased by 11% (or 6kt) to 51kt in the December 2020 half year ahead of the divestment of the TEMCO manganese alloy smelter, which was completed subsequent to the end of the period.