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Doing business with South32

South32 is committed to building strong relationships with our suppliers locally, domestically and globally to seek innovative solutions with a focus on safety, quality and cost.

What we do

What we do

South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company.

Our purpose is to make a difference by developing natural resources, improving people’s lives now and for generations to come. We are trusted by our owners and partners to realise the potential of their resources.

We produce commodities including bauxite, alumina, aluminium, copper, silver, lead, zinc, nickel, metallurgical coal and manganese from our operations in Australia, Southern Africa and South America.

We also have a portfolio of high quality development projects and options, and exploration prospects, consistent with our strategy to reshape our portfolio toward commodities that are critical for a low-carbon future.

Our operations rely on a large number of suppliers every day. We are proud to work closely with local suppliers where possible, supporting their development and creating local jobs.

Our commitment to local procurement

Local procurement is a key focus area for South32. We believe in supporting communities where we operate by using local options for as much of our supply chain as possible.

Supporting local suppliers helps to develop and strengthen local value chains. We source goods and services within local communities, where possible, and set targets at many of our operations for local business spend that also follow legislative requirements.

Our local commitments

Australia - Reconciliation Action PlanExpandCollapse

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses is fundamental to achieving our purpose. We engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers at different levels of our supply chain, with local sourcing teams explaining to prospective suppliers our procurement processes and how to work with South32. We also work closely with our contractors to facilitate relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers.

We remain committed to providing genuine access and support to build the capability and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses where we have a presence.

South Africa - Enterprise and Supplier DevelopmentExpandCollapse

In South Africa, our Enterprise Development Program provides selected local entrepreneurs with the necessary infrastructure and skills to develop into viable enterprises, to enable them to feed into our supply chain. 

We are committed to developing an Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) process that is capable of supporting transformation in an effort to make a meaningful contribution to the social and economic development of South Africa. This is in line with South32’s aspirations to create value beyond compliance which is a philosophy driving towards generating positive impact to enterprises and communities whilst meeting legislative requirements. 

To enable this, we have developed an ESD process that aims to improve awareness of South32’s value systems and opportunities to any qualifying enterprises and suppliers whilst providing positive value and impact to the enterprises and their communities. 

Please note that the program is currently reserved for businesses within our local communities in which we operate. These areas are King Cetshwayo District (KCD) Municipality and John Taolo Gaetsewe (JTG) District Municipality.

In order for applying enterprises or suppliers to qualify for ESD support, they must meet at a minimum the following criteria: 

  • Be at least 51% black owned Exempted Micro Enterprises, Qualifying Small Enterprises 
  • Candidates must have an existing enterprise that is registered in South Africa 
  • You are a local in the area in which we operate  
  • The enterprise must conform with all legal requirements to operate e.g. licenses as well as generally be in good legal standing 
  • The enterprise must be a good cooperate citizen committed to transformation, skills development and empowerment of the communities 

Due to an overwhelming number of requests received each year, we cannot guarantee that each application will be successful as they will assessed in accordance with business requirements.

We have structured their ESD program to provide different types of support based on the enterprises stage of business maturity and existing operating gaps including the following: 

  • Loans 
  • Grants (where applicable) 
  • Shorter payment terms 
  • Incubation support through Business Development Support and programs 

South32 appreciates the critical importance of ESD to the advancement of local economic development (localisation), transformation, job creation and socio-economic growth and prosperity of the people within its operating ecosystem. South32 is fully committed to developing small and medium black enterprises and creating growth opportunities for black enterprises in the local communities in which South32 operates. To execute on this commitment, South32 aspires to spend the 1% of Net Profit after Tax (NPAT) on Enterprise Development (ED) and 2% of NPAT on Supplier Development (SD). 

We have established walk-in business support centres to assist local businesses in the areas in which South32 operates. Our Northern Cape centre is based in Kuruman while in Richards Bay our business centre is next door to our Hillside operation.  

The specific support offered by these walk-in centres includes: 

  • Business Development Support Programmes  
  • Business Compliance  
  • Financial Management support 
  • Tender Readiness 
  • Technical Skills and Safety requirements  
  • Connecting Enterprise Development to Supplier Development 

South32 has been successful in supporting local businesses through our ESD program for many years through business development support and asset funding opportunities. 

Colombia - Local Procurement PlanExpandCollapse

At Cerro Matoso we have incorporated selection criteria based on supplier location to promote local sourcing. We support local suppliers in the vendor creation process, and help them to understand our operation requirements and administrative processes.

As these are usually small companies, trials are promoted with internal customers in order to ensure a smooth introduction to minimise the potential non-compliance in terms of qualities or lead times. Following that process, purchase volumes are increased according to the operation's needs and vendor competitiveness.

Cerro Matoso's Local Procurement Plan is an initiative that defines a local procurement strategy through direct purchase of goods and services to enhance the socio-economic development. The Plan supports local procurement activities across three levels of local vendors:

  1. Direct Influence Area: Most of these vendors are related to communities that are located in the area surrounding the Cerro Matoso plant.
  2. Local: Vendors with economic impact on 6 cities closer to the operation. These cities are less than 100,000 population and include: Montelibano, San Jose de Ure, Puerto Libertador, La Apartada, Caucasia and Planeta Rica.
  3. Regional: Economic impact outside of local boundaries, Regional includes vendors from Monteria and Sincelejo, capital city of Cordoba and Sucre Department respectively.

Additionally, to support the socio-economic development of the region where Cerro Matoso operates, we have changed payment terms for local vendors with annual billing below US$300.000 from 30 days to 14 days.

FY23 local contribution
  • 35% of purchases during the year were awarded to suppliers from the Cordoba region and Atlantic coast, for a value of US$61.5 million  
  • US$19.5 million spent with suppliers based in the Direct Influence and Local areas, a 51.5% increase from FY22.
  • US$112.4 million was spent with suppliers from other parts of Colombia.

Becoming a supplier to South32

To receive a vendor number with South32, your business must be successful in the Request for Quotation (RFQ) or Tender process.

All upcoming opportunities that are not Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and do not require specialised expertise or requirements, are advertised through local processes.

South32 does not typically accept unsolicited requests to become a supplier. Potential suppliers should await the listing of a relevant opportunity to be a supplier to South32.

As part of the process of becoming a supplier to South32, businesses need to adhere to our processes and provide information to confirm their compliance with South32's Code of Business Conduct (including minimum requirements for suppliers), Modern Slavery Policy (including completion of the Modern Slavery self-assessment questionnaire), Supplier Terms and Conditions and any other relevant policies for the services or goods being provided.

South32 will then assess these proposals and the information provided and select a preferred supplier who will be onboarded.

Requirements and expectations for our suppliers

Requirements and expectations for our suppliers

Companies seeking to do business with South32 should be aware of the requirements and expectations of our suppliers.

These include complying with our terms and conditions, Code of Business Conduct and other standards, meeting the requirements of our internal processes, and adhering to our relevant policies.

Some requirements, such as site access rules or licensing requirements, may vary depending on the operation that you are supplying.

The specific requirements of our suppliers are covered in the onboarding process, but more information is available at the link below.

Working safely

At South32, we are united by our belief that everyone should go home safe and well. We ask all members of our workforce to adhere to our ‘safety guarantee’ – an internal approach where each of us stop and ask ourselves whether we can guarantee our own safety and that of our colleagues before undertaking each task.

We are committed to safety on our sites, and we expect that our suppliers share this commitment when working with us.

Suppliers must ensure that the safety of their workforce and the people they are working with at South32 is their first priority, and must comply with our health, safety, environment, and social performance requirements and all local legislation regarding these requirements. These safety requirements are a part of our minimum requirements for suppliers.

When working with suppliers and contractors, South32 applies a process known as the Contractor Management System of Work. This process helps contractors on our sites to understand and adhere to our safety standards so that everyone goes home safe and well.

More information about South32's approach to safety can be found here, including how we manage risk, safety training and how we prepare for potential emergency situations.