South32 delivers production jump across Australian sites

South32 has recorded an uplift in production across its Australian operations – Cannington, Worsley Alumina and Illawarra.

The company’s coal output at the Illawarra operation in New South Wales climbed 57 per cent to 6.6 million tonnes during the 2019 financial year, exceeding its production guidance.

South32’s completion of two longwall moves at Illawarra has led to continued, strong performance in the June quarter, according to the company in its latest quarterly report.

The company has also exceeded its 2019 production guidance at the Cannington zinc mine in North West Queensland regardless of the impact of significant floods in the previous quarter.

It produced 25 per cent more zinc, totalling 51,600 tonnes due to improved grades and productivity underground.

South32’s alumina production at Worsley climbed 12 per cent to 996,000 tonnes in the June quarter, thanks to an uplift in calciner availability.

This is aligned with South32’s revised guidance for Worsley Alumina. South32 has been focused on increasing its nameplate capacity from the 2020 financial year.

“We had a strong finish to the year, with revenue equivalent production growing 10 per cent in the quarter and three per cent for the year,” South32 chief executive Graham Kerr said.

“We also continued to benefit from strong prices for our core commodities during the year. … At year end, we had completed $US986 million ($1.4 billion) of our approved $US1 billion capital management program.”

South32 also continued its drilling program at the Eagle Downs metallurgical coal development in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, ahead of its final investment decision in the December 2020 half year.

The company acquired a 50 per cent interest in Eagle Downs in September last year, with China’s BaoWu subsidiary, Aquila Resources holding the other 50 per cent.

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