PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner South32 is expecting production volumes to grow by nearly 20% in the next financial year, compared with its 2021 production levels.
CEO Graham Kerr told delegates at the Bank of America Global Metals, Mining & Steel Conference that the growth in output targeted for 2023 would be driven by recent investments and improvement projects, which included the acquisition of a 45% interest in the Sierra Gorda project, the restart of Brazil aluminium, the acquisition of an additional 16.6% interest in Mozal aluminium, and improvement projects and capacity creep at existing operations.
Kerr told delegates that South32 had allocated $521-million of capital spend for 2022 on its current operations, including on portfolio changes and the transition of its Appin coal mine into a single longwall operation, at the Ilawarra metallurgical coal operations.
An additional A$90-million of growth capital has been set aside in 2022 for the development of the Hermosa metals project in Arizona.
For the 2023 financial year, $790-million in capital has been earmarked for existing operations, with a further $180-million for improvement and life extension projects.
From 2023 onward, the majority of South32’s growth is expected to come from North America, led by the Taylor deposit, at the Hermosa project, where a feasibility has already been completed, and followed by the Clark deposit, also at Hermosa, where a prefeasibility is currently under way.
Prefeasibility work is also ongoing at the Ambler Metals joint venture, in Alaska, where the company is hoping to develop a copper/zinc/lead/silver/gold operation.
The Sierra Gorda oxide project, in Chile, was next within South32’s project pipeline, with future exploration at both Sierra Gorda and Hermosa expected to add value to the operations.