23 January 2023
Today we released our December 2022 Quarterly Report, which saw a number of highlights. We achieved a 12 per cent increase in Group copper equivalent production in H1 FY23, as our recent investments in copper and low-carbon aluminium capacity delivered strong growth. We achieved an eight per cent increase in quarterly alumina production as Worsley Alumina and Brazil Alumina operated above nameplate capacity. Aluminium production increased by 15 per cent, including a 50 per cent uplift in low-carbon aluminium, which reflected our additional shareholding in Mozal Aluminium and the restart of the Brazil Aluminium smelter.
Cerro Matoso increased quarterly nickel production by 13 per cent following the commissioning of the Ore Sorting and Mechanical Ore Concentration (OSMOC) project during the December quarter, which underpinned a 15-year extension to the mining contract and supports higher nickel production for the remainder of FY23.
Australia Manganese achieved record half year production, supporting a seven per cent increase in total manganese production. Illawarra Metallurgical Coal delivered a 17 per cent increase in quarterly metallurgical coal production, with improved volumes and labour productivity as we finalised a new industrial agreement at Appin.
We have also made further progress at Hermosa, with the Taylor feasibility study remaining on track for a planned final investment decision in the middle of this year. The completed work on the selection phase of the Clark pre-feasibility study, which confirmed the opportunity to produce high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate for the growing North American electric vehicle supply chain.
During the December quarter, we returned a record US$784M in fully-franked ordinary and special dividends in respect of the June 2022 half year.
H1 FY23 Operating unit costs are expected to be in-line with, or below, FY23 guidance at the majority of our operations. Looking ahead, we are well positioned to capture the benefit of improved market conditions, with further expected production growth in H2 FY23 and our ongoing focus on cost management to mitigate inflationary pressures.