Australia’s South32 coking coal output rises 9% on Illawarra ramp-up

(Image courtesy of South32)

South32 Ltd on Thursday reported a 9% rise in coking coal production for the first quarter, as the miner ramped up output at its Illawarra project in New South Wales.

Production of the steel-making ingredient, known as metallurgical or coking coal, was about 1.7 million tonnes in the September quarter, compared with 1.5 million tonnes a year earlier.

The Illawarra operations, which account for nearly all of the company’s coal output, rose 9% in the quarter.

The miner maintained its fiscal 2020 production forecast across all of its operations, with Illawarra expected to produce 7 million tonnes of coal for the year.

The company, spun off from mining giant BHP Group in 2015, saw output from its Dendrobium and Appin mines at Illawarra rise following infrastructure improvements.

Meanwhile, the miner’s aluminium production during the quarter was largely unchanged from last year, while Alumina production ticked up slightly.

In August, South32 announced a 25% decline in annual profit as the trade war between China and the United States hurt aluminium prices.

(By Ambar Warrick and Niyati Shetty; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Maju Samuel)

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