The company, which has manganese operations in Australia and South Africa, has recovered a record setting 5.5 million wet metric tonnes of the critical metal during the 2018 financial year, a 10 percent year-on-year increase.
Diversified metals miner South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32) has surpassed its own manganese production record at its international manganese projects.
The company, which has manganese operations in Australia and South Africa, aluminum operations in Africa and a nickel project in Colombia, has recovered a record-setting 5.5 million wet metric tonnes (Mwmt) of the critical metal during the 2018 financial year, a 10 percent year-on-year increase.
“We delivered record annual production at Australia Manganese and Mozal Aluminum, increased payable nickel production at Cerro Matoso by 20 percent and finished the year on a strong note at the remainder of our operations,” Graham Kerr, South32’s CEO said.
Production of manganese ore in Australia increased by 13 percent to a record 3.4 million wmt. This production uptick represents a 9 percent contribution to the South32’s total output, up from 6 percent in the 2017 financial year.
Similarly, manganese production at the company’s South African site increased by 5 percent to 2.1 million wmt.
Stronger demand for the popular alloy metal helped South32 benefit from an international production increase.
South32 is the world’s largest producer of manganese ore, which is a key component in making stronger steel used for building large structures like high rises and skyscrapers as well as bridges.
“Our low cost PC02 fines product has a manganese content of approximately 40 percent, which leads to both grade and product-type discounts when referenced to the high grade 44 percent manganese lump ore index,” noted the company’s Q2 report.
“Notwithstanding the contribution of the PC02 circuit to our sales profile, our average realized price for external sales of Australian ore will reflect a modest premium to the high grade 44 percent manganese lump ore index on a volume weighted M-1 basis in FY18.”
“We are actively reshaping our portfolio and are now managing South Africa Energy Coal as a stand-alone business, allowing us to simplify the group, lower overhead costs and fundamentally change the way we work,” added Kerr.
South32 has also entered a conditional agreement to purchase the remaining 83 percent of Arizona Mining (TSX:AZ), as well as a 50-percent stake in the Eagles Down metallurgical coal project.
Shares of South32 were up slightly on Thursday (July 19), closing at AU$3.65.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.