South32’s production of manganese reached a record 5.5 million wet metric tonnes (Mwmt) in the 2018 financial year, a 10 per cent year-on-year increase.
Both manganese operations – Australia Manganese and South Africa manganese – experienced a production lift, following a year-on-year increase in the March quarter this year.
South32 chief executive Graham Kerr said, “We delivered record annual production at Australia Manganese and finished the year on a strong note at the remainder of our operations.”
Australia Manganese’s ore production increased by 13 per cent to a record 3.4Mwmt. This represents a 9 per cent contribution to the company’s total output, up from 6 per cent in the 2017 financial year.
Meanwhile, the South Africa Manganese production increased by 5 per cent to 2.1Mwmt. The company took advantage of stronger demand and pricing by selling lower quality fines product and utilising higher cost trucking.
According to the company, high-rise buildings and major infrastructure, such as hospitals, office towers and bridges, use steel that contains manganese.
Fine grained Wessels concentrate product from the South Africa Manganese operation also accounted for 13 per cent of sales across the 2018 financial year. This was 9 per cent higher than the 2017 financial year.
South32 is the world’s largest producer of manganese ore, owning 60 per cent shares in its Australian manganese operations with Groote Eylandt Mining Company and Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company, and in Africa with South Africa Manganese.