Several issues, including contractor drill rigs and a strike by employees of South African rail and ports operator Transnet, negatively impacted on the production of ASX-listed Jupiter Mines’ Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining subsidiary in the quarter ended November 30.
Tshipi é Ntle's Tshipi Borwa manganese mine in South Africa produced 12% less quarter-on-quarter at 748 000 t, as a result of contractor drill rig availability challenges – an issue that has now been resolved.
In terms of tonnes sold, the miner was negatively impacted on by a strike by Transnet employees, resulting in a 16% decline quarter-on-quarter to 781 000 t sold. However, the issue of the strike by Transnet has also now been resolved.
For the three months under review, Jupiter reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of A$47.5-million, down from the A$87.7-million of the second quarter; and a net profit after-tax of A$30.2-million, down from the A$54.9-million of the quarter prior.
The earnings decrease was a result of lower sales volumes quarter-on-quarter and a lower manganese price in the period under review.
Total mined volumes from Tshipi in the period were 2.22-million cubic metres, marginally down from the 2.29-million cubic metres of the quarter prior.
Despite challenges, Jupiter reports that Tshipi is on track to achieve 3.4-million tonnes a year of high-grade ore sales for the 2023 financial year – setting a record level for the mine.
Jupiter has noted an improvement in manganese demand in China – the main manganese ore consuming region – during the first half of December, following regional governments adjustments to previously implemented Covid-19 related restrictions.
In addition, buoyant liquidity on the portside market has also been spurred by restocking from alloy plants ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which starts in mid-January 2023.
These factors, highlights Jupiter, have resulted in a slight recovery in manganese ore prices in Deecember.