SOUTH 32 A different kind of resource company
outh 32 has operations across five countries and is listed on three continents. Yet despite being a global organisation, at the heart of South32’s success is its ability to focus on the communities it works with. Spun out from BHP Billiton in 2015, South32 mines and produces commodities in a safe, sustainable way. The company mines and produces bauxite, alumina, aluminium, energy and metal lurgical coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc in Australia, Southern Africa and South America. South32 is the world’s largest producer of manganese ore, a top producer of silver and one of the world’s largest ferronickel producers. These products can seem obscure to those not involved in the resource industry, but they are vital to everyday lives. They help to power homes, start cars, build infrastructure and even make coins and jewellery. The South32 corporate office is located in Perth,Western Australia, with global shared services based in Johannesburg and marketing activities managed through Singapore and London. Its operations in Brazil Alumina is managed from an office in Rio de Janeiro. The organisation is due to spin off its South African Energy Coal business in six months but will continue to focus on its existing operations in South Africa which include aluminium and manganese.
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A SIMPLIFIED APPROACH It may be a worldwide company, but South32 was determined to avoid the pitfalls that big businesses can often encounter, like complex management chains which can slow operations down. It has instead adopted a back-to-basics approach, simplifying operations by combining them into regions which reduces layers of management and provides a leaner corporate centre which insides a centralised marketing model. “At the heart of our operating model is the way we work, which is focused on building an inclusive workplace with a strong culture of care and accountability,” says South32. “Our vision is to create a safe working environment, where we can guarantee that everyone goes home safe and well every day. To achieve this, we are making sure all our work is well-designed to deliver safe outcomes and we are constantly learning and improving.”
PEOPLE AT THE HEART OF THE BUSINESS Like any successful company, South32 knows that it is only as good as the people it hires. That’s why the company celebrates difference and hiring a strong team made up of a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. Chairman David Crawford underlines that importance in the notes in the 2017 Annual Report. “We have set ambitious diversity targets, particularly focused on gender and ethnicity, and we are pleased to report our progress,” he says. “During the year we spent US$1.8 million addressing the gender pay gap and we ran campaigns to improve the gender and ethnic diversity of our workforce, particularly in core disciplines such as engineering.” “We also implemented policies and practices to enable a more flexible work environment. Employee survey results showed 78 per cent of our employees felt
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they have appropriate control over the way they complete their work, which includes working flexible hours.” EXPLORATION South32 is always looking to partner and invest with junior miners, which allow the company to access attractive opportunities while reducing operational risk. Current exploration projects are; • a strategic alliance with AusQuest to develop a pipeline of high-potential exploration opportunities such as copper, zinc and nickel projects in Australia and Peru • an agreement with Trilogy Metals to explore their high-grade copper resources in Alaska • a 15 per cent interest in Arizona Mining, which is looking to develop a zinc mine in the United States • a strategic alliance with North
Queensland Resources to appraise several exploration opportunities targeting gold, silver and base metal deposits in North Queensland, Australia “We continue to look for new opportunities to expand our horizons,” says South32. “We invest in exploration inside and outside of our portfolio, but making sure they match our capabilities. Our exploration activities are carefully selected to have a high chance of success and are spread around the world, including places we have not operated in before.” Last year was a record breaking one for South32’s manganese sales in South Africa. Approximately 1.07 million tonnes (Mt) of manganese ore was produced at the South African operations, in Hotazhel, meaning South32 received a $238m net contribution from its share in Samancor, the joint venture with Anglo American, which holds the manganese assets.
Oliver Moy Publisher
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