Cannington payable zinc equivalent production increased by 9% (or 20.7kt) to 264.1kt in the nine months ended March 2021 following strong underground mine performance which has supported the acceleration of a higher-grade mining sequence.
As a result of the continued strong operating performance and expectation of higher grades in the June 2021 quarter South32 has further increased FY21 zinc equivalent production guidance by 10% to 382.6kt (silver 13,700koz, lead 130.7kt and zinc 69.2kt). FY22 production guidance remains unchanged at this time.
Notwithstanding the strong production performance, sales were negatively impacted in the March 2021 quarter as a result of weather related timing disruptions to rail logistics that are expected to unwind in the June 2021 quarter.
South32 has initiated a pre-feasibility study to assess the potential to transition the underground mine to a truck haulage operation, from the current truck/shaft configuration. The change in configuration is a low cost capital option that has the potential to bring forward further higher-grade material from FY23 at current operating costs and throughput rates.