Weather forces South32 to withdraw manganese guidance

South32 (ASX:S32) is withdrawing guidance for Australia manganese after suspending operations at its majority (60%) owned Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory. 

GEMCO sits on the island of Groote Eylandt and is an open-cut, strip-mining operation that produces ‘high-grade’ manganese ore. 

According to South32, given its proximity to export markets in Asia the GEMCO mine is one of the largest manganese ore producers in the world.

The $14.13 billion market capitalisation company says operations remain temporarily suspended due to the effect of Tropical Cyclone Megan and will undertake an initial assessment of impact, which has identified flooding in the mining pits. 

The assessment has also flagged ‘significant’ damage to a critical haul road bridge that connects the northern pits to the Western Leases mining area and the processing plant.

‘Significant’ structural damage has also been confirmed at the wharf and port infrastructure. Further assessment of the full impact of the damage is ongoing and will inform recovery plans, with a view to returning to safe operations as soon as possible. 

South32 says its workforce is safe and there has been no recordable injuries to personnel at the operations. 

Alternative shipping arrangements are currently being evaluated.

However, South32 will provide a further update to its Australia manganese guidance in its March 2024 quarterly report. 

South32 is a global mining and metals company focused on producing commodities that are used in many aspects of modern life. 

Its operations, development options and exploration programs are diversified by commodity and geography. 

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.