South32 operations continue to deliver to annual guidance

In its QUARTERLY REPORT, South32 says it maintained FY22 production guidance with its operations continuing to deliver to plan, taking advantage of rising commodity prices.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Delivered a US$254M increase in our net cash position to US$660M[note 1] with higher commodity prices and third party logistics disruptions resulting in a build in working capital
  • Achieved a 7% increase in manganese production, with a quarterly record at South Africa Manganese and a strong start to the year at Australia Manganese
  • Maintained production above nameplate capacity at Worsley Alumina, with the operation continuing to benefit from improvement initiatives
  • Restored production to normalised rates at Brazil Alumina in October, following an incident that damaged one of the bauxite unloaders at the refinery in July 2021
  • Increased production at Mozal Aluminium, with smelter productivity benefitting from its investment in the AP3XLE energy efficiency technology
  • Recorded sequentially lower base metals production, with Cerro Matoso impacted by a temporary equipment outage, while Cannington extracted a planned series of lower grade stopes
  • Entered into binding conditional agreements to acquire a 45% interest in Sierra Gorda, an operating copper mine in Chile which is expected to deliver copper equivalent production of 214kt in CY21e (100% basis)
  • Exercised its pre-emptive rights to acquire an additional interest in its hydro powered aluminium smelter, Mozal Aluminium

“Our operations continue to perform well, achieving record production at South Africa Manganese and maintaining production above nameplate capacity at Worsley Alumina. Production at Mozal Aluminium was higher, with the smelter benefitting from our investment in the AP3XLE energy efficiency technology,” said CEO Graham Kerr, South32.

 “Our teams continue to achieve strong operating results, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 across the globe.

“Our operating performance has further strengthened our financial position, supporting the continuation of our on-market share buy-back, and subsequent to the end of the period, payment of our US$256M fully franked ordinary and special dividends in respect of the June 2021 half year.

“We continue to actively reshape our portfolio for a low carbon future, and last week entered into binding conditional agreements to acquire a 45 per cent interest in Sierra Gorda, a long life, open pit copper mine in Chile. We have also recently exercised our pre-emptive rights to acquire an additional interest in Mozal Aluminium. These initiatives, and our ongoing work with Alcoa in Brazil to investigate the Alumar smelter’s potential restart using renewable power, will see us increase our leverage to the metals critical to the green energy transition.”

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