South32 manganese ore production increased to a record in FY21

Australia Manganese saleable ore production increased by 2% (or 59kwmt) to a record 3,529kwmt in FY21 despite the impact of higher than average rainfall during the wet season. The primary concentrator  continued to achieve strong output as we drew down previously established run of mine stocks, while  output from the PC02 circuit remained above nameplate capacity, contributing 10% of total production (FY20: 12%).

South32 did not produce any manganese alloy in the June 2021 half year following its divestment of the TEMCO manganese alloy smelter. The effective completion date of the sale for accounting purposes was 31 December 2020.

South Africa Manganese saleable ore production increased by 21% (or 386kwmt) to 2,264kwmt in FY21 as the operation recovered from an extended shutdown in response to COVID-19 restrictions and  market conditions in the prior year.

Strong production in the June 2021 quarter supported higher sales, with an increase in our use of opportunistic, higher cost trucking lifting sales volumes by 28%. South32 did not produce any manganese alloy in FY21 as our Metalloys smelter remained on care and maintenance.

Cerro Matoso payable nickel production decreased by 16% (or 6.5kt) to 34.1kt in FY21 following the major refurbishment of one of the furnaces in the December 2020 and March 2021 quarters.

Payable nickel production increased by 54% during the June 2021 quarter as processed ore grade increased 10% following the receipt of first ore from the higher-grade Q&P project.

While South32 ferronickel product sells with reference to the LME Nickel index price on a M or M+1 basis it continues to attract product discounts of approximately 10%. Cannington payable zinc equivalent production increased by 14% (or 47.6kt) to 380.2kt in FY21.

Strong underground mine performance supported the acceleration of a higher-grade mining sequence, which was extracted in the June 2021 quarter.

South32 expects to provide pre-feasibility study outcomes for the transition of the underground mine to a truck haulage operation, and an update in relation to our FY22 production guidance, with its FY21 results announcement.

Silver, lead and zinc sales increased by 51%, 48% and 34% respectively in the June 2021 quarter, as rail logistics recovered from weather related disruptions in the prior period.

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