South32 Annual Output Slides for Several Commodities
By Robb M. Stewart
MELBOURNE, Australia--South32 Ltd. (S32.AU) missed its
production guidance for several commodities over the last financial
year as its struggled with poor weather, unplanned maintenance and
The Australian miner, which was spun out of BHP Billiton Ltd.
(BHP.AU) in 2015, on Thursday reported a fall in output of coal and
several other products in the year through June despite
quarter-over-quarter improvements in output in the final three
months of the year.
Production of metallurgical coal, used in steel production,
dropped by 19% to 5.7 million metric tons and was steady for the
final quarter of the financial year. Energy coal output also
weakened, falling about 8% to 30.3 million tons despite a 13% rise
quarter-on-quarter at the end of the year.
Alumina output slipped 1% for the year to 5.2 million tons,
although was 2% higher in the final quarter, while aluminum
production picked up by 2% for fiscal 2017 to 985,000 tons.
Among other commodities, manganese alloy production was down 2%
to 220,000 tons, despite jumping 23% on-quarter for the final three
months, and manganese ore output was 5% higher for the year at 5
million tons. Payable silver, lead and zinc production were each
lower for the year.
"While we didn't achieve the level of consistency that we expect
from our broader portfolio, our alumina, nickel and manganese
operations finished the year on a strong note," Chief Executive
Graham Kerr said.
South32 said South African energy coal production, used by power
plants, decreased by 9% for the year despite improved performance
in the fourth quarter due to adverse weather and the associated
delay in the development of new mining areas, while a severe storm
dented export sales from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal. It said
the impact is expected to continue to weigh on the business's
performance this financial year.
In Australia, production remains suspended at the company's
Appin colliery, which accounted for almost half of all output from
its Illawarra metallurgical coal unit over the year. Late last
month, South32 said Australian regulators had expressed concern
about operating practices at the Illawarra operation after it again
suspended operations at the Appin mine.
The company's majority-owned Worsley alumina operation in
Western Australia state was affected by unplanned maintenance in
the three months through March but the refinery ended the financial
year on a strong note. Its part-owned Brazilian alumina operation
saw saleable production remain largely steady over the year,
although sales declined in the final quarter due to the timing of
shipments, it said.
Write to Robb M. Stewart at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 19, 2017 21:12 ET (01:12 GMT)
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