24 JULY 2023
South32’s Quarterly Report June 2023 has been released, headlined by strong year-on-year growth in aluminium, copper and manganese.
- 9% increase in Group copper equivalent production in the June 2023 quarter
- 14% increase in aluminium production in FY23
- 17% increase in base metals production in FY23
- Annual production records set by Hillside Aluminium, Australia Manganese and South Africa Manganese
“We had a strong finish to the year, with Group copper equivalent production growing 9% in the quarter,” said Graham Kerr, South32 CEO.
“Our operating results included record annual production at Hillside Aluminium, Australia Manganese and South Africa Manganese.
“Aluminium production increased by 14% and base metals production by 17% in FY23, supported by our recent investments in commodities critical to a low-carbon future.”
The Group copper equivalent production result was underpinned by a return to stable operations following adverse weather and other temporary impacts in the prior quarter.
The increase in Aluminium production reflects record production at Hillside Aluminium, as well as our recent investments in low-carbon aluminium capacity at Mozal Aluminium and Brazil Aluminium.
Alumina production declined by 4% in FY23 due to temporary outages at Worsley Alumina and Brazil Alumina in the June 2023 quarter. Both refineries have returned to nameplate production rates and FY24 guidance is unchanged.
Base metals production increased for FY23 as we embedded the Sierra Gorda copper operation in our portfolio, while our Cannington zinc-lead-silver and Cerro Matoso nickel operations achieved revised guidance.
With both Australia Manganese and South Africa Manganese achieving annual production records, manganese production saw a 4% increase in FY23.
Illawarra Metallurgical Coal achieved revised FY23 production guidance, with improved longwall performance delivering a 21% increase in metallurgical coal production in the June 2023 quarter.
Our Hermosa project in Arizona became the first mining project in the United States to be covered by the FAST-41 process and we advanced study work for our Taylor zinc-lead-silver and Clark battery-grade manganese development option.
Alongside today's report, we've also announced that we will record a non-cash impairment expense for our Taylor deposit in our FY23 financial results, reflecting delays from the impact of COVID-19, significant dewatering requirements and current inflationary market conditions.
We’ve also announced an upgrade to the Mineral Resource estimate for the Taylor deposit – with a 41% increase in the Measured Mineral Resource - and our best exploration drill result to date from our Peake copper exploration prospect. The upgrade to Taylor provides a compelling base to underpin future production.
During the quarter, we also progressed our greenfield exploration programs, and exercised our earn-in right to acquire a 50.1% interest in the Chita Valley copper exploration project, located in Argentina’s highly prospective San Juan mineral belt.
Thank you to our teams around the world for your efforts during the quarter and throughout FY23.