South32 Boosts Illawarra Guidance, Reports Strong Manganese Output

South32 saw a 17-percent increase in profit for the half year ended December 31, 2018 on the back of strong operational performance.

South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32,JSE:S32) saw a 17-percent rise in profit for the half year ended December 31, 2018 on strong operational performance and record production at Australia Manganese.

Alongside growth in profit after tax, South32’s revenue was up 9 percent to US$3.8 billion from the same period last year, with underlying earnings up 18 percent to US$642 million.

The company also saw a 106-percent increase in production to 3.8 million tonnes (Mt) at its Illawarra metallurgical coal operation in New South Wales.

South32 pointed to strong performances from Illawarra’s Dendrobium and Appin longwalls, along with the establishment of metallurgical coal stockpiles, for the production boost, adding that operating unit costs decreased by 42 percent to US$87 per tonne.

The decrease in operational costs come from a “substantial” US$327-million increase in sales volumes; the company has now increased the project’s production guidance for the 2019 fiscal year by 7 percent, to 6.5 Mt.

Record ore production of over 1.8 million wet metric tonnes was also reached at the company’s Australia Manganese operations, which consist of Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) in the Northern Territory and Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (TEMCO) in Tasmania.

This came as the primary circuit continued to see high utilization rates and the premium concentrate ore circuit operated at 120 percent of its design capacity, contributing 9 percent of total production.

Despite the record results, production guidance for the 2019 fiscal year will remain the same at Australia Manganese as the wet season is expected to impact H2 2019 production.

South32 is also putting forth improvement initiatives at its Worsley Alumina asset in Western Australia to support production ramp up to nameplate capacity of 4.6 Mt, which is expected to push sustaining capital expenditure to US$60 million in the 2019 fiscal year.

“We are well positioned for the second half of the year, with a net cash balance of US$678 million and an improving outlook for production and costs,” South32 CEO Graham Kerr said in a statement.

“This strong position has allowed us to return US$511 million to shareholders in respect of the period with today’s declaration of a US$258 million fully franked interim dividend and a US$86 million fully franked special dividend,” he added.

South32’s share price was up 3.54 percent at the end of trading on the ASX on Thursday (February 14), ending the day at AU$3.80.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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The Investing News Network (INN) spoke with analysts, market watchers and insiders about which trends will impact this sector in the year ahead.
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Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott and Rio Tinto Managing Director of Port, Rail and Core Services, Richard Cohen, joined community members, local businesses and representatives from local government to celebrate the official opening of its new community ‘Hub’ in Karratha. Located on Ngarluma country in the heart of Karratha’s CBD, the new Rio Tinto Karratha Hub will make it easier for local …

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive, Simon Trott and Rio Tinto Managing Director of Port, Rail and Core Services, Richard Cohen, joined community members, local businesses and representatives from local government to celebrate the official opening of its new community ‘Hub’ in Karratha.

Located on Ngarluma country in the heart of Karratha’s CBD, the new Rio Tinto Karratha Hub will make it easier for local people to connect with our busines.

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Rio Tinto is progressing an innovative new technology to deliver low-carbon steel, using sustainable biomass in place of coking coal in the steelmaking process, in a potentially cost-effective option to cut industry carbon emissions. Over the past decade, Rio Tinto has developed a laboratory-proven process that combines the use of raw, sustainable biomass with microwave technology to convert iron ore to metallic …

Rio Tinto is progressing an innovative new technology to deliver low-carbon steel, using sustainable biomass in place of coking coal in the steelmaking process, in a potentially cost-effective option to cut industry carbon emissions.

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A Canadian fund provider is debuting a version of its popular bitcoin ETF in Australia. Is now the best time for this launch?

Australian investors are getting a new way to invest in the volatile bitcoin space thanks to a deal between an asset management company and a Canadian fund provider.

On May 12, Canadian fund maker Purpose Investments launched a version of its bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the Australian market by way of a partnership with Cosmos Asset Management, which is owned in part by the Australian division of Mawson Infrastructure Group (NASDAQ:MIGI).

The fund, called the Cosmos-Purpose Bitcoin Access ETF (CXA:CBTC), is listed on the Cboe Australia exchange, and holds units of the Toronto-based Purpose Bitcoin ETF (TSX:BTCC).


“We have brought together a team of global experts to offer Australian investors access to a truly high-quality product,” Dan Annan, Cosmos Asset Management CEO, said in a statement to investors.

ETF maker pursues rising international interest in cryptocurrencies

In an interview with the Investing News Network (INN), Vlad Tasevski, chief operating officer and head of product at Purpose Investments, said the firm has been actively pursuing ways to offer its crypto funds internationally.

The executive said there has been widespread interest in BTCC since its launch back in February of last year.

As the firm began evaluating how to approach this demand, the company considered setting up shop in the Australian market, Tasevski said. However, eventually the Canadian fund provider went with the partnership route.

Tasevski called Australia “the next logical jurisdiction" for the firm as it expands with its crypto funds.

When asked what makes Australia so attractive for the expansion of BTCC, the executive said it has a similar market structure to Canada, and credited securities regulators in the nation for being more comfortable with cryptocurrency listings than other jurisdictions.

Purpose has strong long-term outlook for digital assets

Although crypto assets are facing a serious ongoing downturn in value that has created significant losses, Tasevski told INN that Purpose Investments is undeterred in its long-term crypto outlook.

“The amount of capital and the amount of people involved in the space has never been higher,” Tasevski said.

The executive said he views his company's offerings as very flexible for investors. “We'll be here for (investors) to actually give them the ability to very easily access it whenever they feel it is appropriate for them,” he said.

Tasevski added that he views the current downturn for bitcoin as “one of the best entry opportunities in the last year and a half.”

​As bitcoin struggles, ETF firm celebrates structural victory

Purpose Investments has suggested to investors that accessing the bitcoin market through its funds is a safer route than going it alone, especially given the current period of remarkable losses.

According to Tasevski, the firm's products offer liquidity to investors and provide a measured approach for people who want exposure in this segment.

“We have been very clear that this is a volatile asset class,” he told INN. “And investors should kind of understand the level of volatility that they will be taking on.”

The investment executive said the infrastructure security provided by the rules ETFs must follow has been a boon as the crypto space faces major volatility.

Even so, BTCC has been rocked in 2022 based on the performance of bitcoin. Over a year-to-date period, the fund had gone down in value by over 35 percent as of the closing bell in Canada on May 11. In the past month alone, BTCC has dropped in value by over 20 percent.

Som Seif, founder and CEO of Purpose Investments, recently said crypto is a “core component” for the firm “when solving problems for (its) customers.”

​Investor takeaway

Digital assets have never been more easily available as tools for all types of investors.

While many experts remain confident in the long-term outlook for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the considerable volatility prevailing in the market can make the space difficult for newcomers to stomach.

So far in 2022, bitcoin losses have highlighted the lack of stability in digital coins — but of course, as some have argued, these big moves can also provide entry points and opportunities for savvy investors.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage said, “There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage: Developing the 1st Lithium Hydroxide Plant in Europe youtu.be


European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8) Executive Chairman Tony Sage discussed the company’s Wolfsburg project in Austria, a country with a rich mining history dating back to WWII that maintains its infrastructure.

Wolfsburg continues that tradition, positioned only 45 kilometres from the city that hosts the largest Samsung battery factory.

"It’s quite unique. In Europe, a lot of the lithium mines are at the exploration stage," Sage said. "This mine was built back in the '80s by the Austrian government. So all the work has been done. If we were going to do this project today, we would have to get environmental approval and spend about $100 million — but they did all the work and the licence is in perpetuity.


“We can now access that mine and start mining immediately. In fact, in 2017, we mined it and took out 1,500 tonnes, which is a massive advantage in the lithium industry because we were able to build a pilot plant and put 300 tonnes of the material through the pilot plant, which gave us the results that we were looking for in that it's high-grade product.”

Sage also discussed European Lithium’s goals with the project. “Our aim is to mine it. It's a very simple mining process. We're in the process now of trying to acquire land nearby so we can actually put a conversion plant and a hydroxide plant on it. There's not one hydroxide plant in Europe, so we hope to be the first. Not only would we be able to source material from our own mine, but we may be able to source material in nearby areas.”

Sage told the Investing News Network that the government is supportive of its endeavours. “The Austrian government is very keen for us to build hydroxide plants so they can actually entice vehicle companies to build a factory nearby the hydroxide plant. This way, we can have a mine right through to the battery solution for the Austrian government. In the end, all we can do is get the mines up and operating, build the hydroxide plant and see what happens.”

The mine itself is underground. “Underground mining techniques are used all around the world. When they built it, they actually overbuilt — so when we decided to mine back in 2017, it was quite easy for us to find the seam of the orebody and then take the ore out," Sage said.

“We completed a prefeasibility study in 2018. The cost structure then was about US$7,500 per tonne to produce the hydroxide. Right now, the hydroxide price is around US$69,000 a tonne — that’s a massive profit margin that we don’t see as sustainable long term. When we do our definitive feasibility study, we're probably going to use an average price over the life of mine of about US$25,000 — but that's still a huge profit margin. That feasibility study is coming within the next four months, when we’ll be in a good position to partner with someone.”

Watch the full interview of European Lithium Executive Chairman Tony Sage above.

Disclaimer: This interview is sponsored by European Lithium (ASX:EUR,FWB:PF8). This interview provides information that was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by European Lithium in order to help investors learn more about the company. European Lithium is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with European Lithium and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

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