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South32 expects to meet FY'17 production targets despite challenging Q2

Despite a challenging second quarter of fiscal 2017, BHP Billiton Group-spinoff South32 Ltd. said it remains on track to achieve production guidance for the majority of its operations for the full financial year.

The Jan. 19 results showed quarterly declines in the production of energy coal, manganese alloy, silver and lead compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Energy coal slumped 9.8% year over year to 7.5 million tonnes due to the closure of the North Plant at the Wolvekrans-Middelburg complex in South Africa, scheduled maintenance and the re-positioning of draglines.

Manganese alloy slid 15.2% to 56,000 tonnes, payable silver fell 27.9% to 4.0 million ounces and payable lead dropped 26.7% to 35,500 tonnes.

However, South32 witnessed a 37.8% jump in manganese ore production and a 14.2% hike in metallurgical coal output in the second quarter compared to the corresponding period last year.

Manganese ore production was helped by the drawing down of stockpiles at the South African operations and the ramping up of PC02 ore production to full capacity at the Australian Groote Eylandt operations.

Quarterly alumina and aluminum production shifted up 1.4% and 3.3% year over year to 1.3 million tonnes and 249,000 tonnes, respectively.

Nickel and zinc output rose 2.3% and 9.9% to 9,000 tonnes and 24,400 tonnes, respectively.