JMS 0.00% 27.0¢ jupiter mines limited.

Manganese production issues for South32

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    South32 flags $130 million hit as it weighs future of smelters

    By Nick ToscanoJuly 20, 2020 — 5.18pm

    Australian miner South32 has flagged nearly $130 million of write-downs amid doubts about the economic viability of its manganese alloy smelters across South Africa and Tasmania.The world's largest producer of manganese ore, which is mainly used in steel production, paint and glass colouring, said on Monday it had pushed back the completion of a review into its TEMCO manganese alloy smelter in Tasmania's Bell Bay due to the coronavirus pandemic while its South African smelter, Metalloys, has been placed on temporary care and maintenance. The miner told investors it expected to book a post-tax, non-cash impairment of about $US90 million ($128 million) in its 2020 financial results on both smelters in consideration of their economic viability and a $US5 million ($7 million) in anticipated restructuring and redundancy costs at Metalloys.Operations are continuing at South32's TEMCO smelter, but the review, which is exploring options including selling, mothballing and closing the facility, has caused uncertainty for its 300 employees. The write-downs announced on Monday come after South32 in March suspended a share buyback, committed to reducing spending by $US160 million, and scaled back exploratory drilling activity following falls in the prices of most of its biggest commodities.Chief executive Graham Kerr said South32 was managing its financial position in the face of the "uncertainty remaining in global markets" amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. "Looking forward, we remain focused on reducing controllable costs, managing counterparty and supply chain risk and optimising working capital to ensure the business remains resilient during a potentially extended period of volatility and lower commodity prices," Mr Kerr said.Despite the ongoing health crisis, Mr Kerr added, the diversfied miner delivered a strong operating result, highlighted by production records across several of its businesses."We have continued to see good demand for our products, with sales exceeding production at the majority of our operations," he said. "Brazil Alumina, Australian Manganese, South African Manganese and the Cannington silver, lead and zinc operations exceeded full-year production guidance."South32, the world's largest producer of manganese ore, produced 1.23 million wet metric tonnes of the commodity in June quarter, from 1.29 million met metric tonnes a year earlier. The result beat a UBS estimate of 950,000 wet metric tonnes.UBS analysts said South32's South African manganese ore business had faced the most significant coronavirus-related impact during the June quarter due to underground operations being restricted to 50 per cent capacity following a lockdown.RBC Capital Markets said South32's quarterly operations report represented a "strong end" to the financial year, exceeding output forecasts in several areas."We believe the company is well-positioned for the eventual economic recovery with long-term upside to its key commodity prices," the bank's analysts said.Shares in South32 were trading 2.25 per cent lower following the results on Monday to end the day at $2.17.

    All IMHO, DYOR
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