(Alliance News) - South32 Ltd on Thursday maintained its 2022 financial year production guidance as the mining group continued to "perform well", taking advantage of rising commodity prices.
In its report for the first quarter, which ended on September 30, the miner said manganese ore production rose 7.1% to 1.6 million tonnes from 1.5 million tonnes a year prior and in the fourth quarter of financial 2021.
But metalurgical coal output dropped 15% to 1.6 million tonnes from 1.9 million a year previous, while energy coal output slumped 38% to 313,000 million tonnes from 508,000.
Declining by a lesser extent, alumina output slipped by 2.8% to 1.28 million tonnes from 1.32 million.
"Our operations continue to perform well, achieving record production at South Africa Manganese and maintaining production above nameplate capacity at Worsley Alumina," said South32 Chief Executive Graham Kerr.
"Our operating performance has further strengthened our financial position, supporting the continuation of our on-market share buyback, and subsequent to the end of the period, payment of our USD256 million fully franked ordinary and special dividends in respect of the June 2021 half year," Kerr said.
South32's net cash position increased to USD660 million from USD254 million, with higher commodity prices and third-party logistics disruptions resulting in a build in working capital.
For the full year to June 2022, alumina production forecast at Worsley Alumina remains unchanged at 3.9 million tonnes and output at Brazil Alumina is kept at 1.3 million tonnes.
Forecast for metalurgical coal output is also unchanged at 6.3 million tonnes. Manganese ore production in Australia is maintained at 3.5 million tonnes, and South African manganese ore output also has seen no change at 2.2 million tonnes.
Shares in South32 was down 0.3% to ZAR41.34 on Thursday in Johannesburg. In London, they were down 1.2% to 206.50 pence.
By Artwell Dlamini; firstname.lastname@example.org
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