Why is the South32 share price charging higher on Monday?

How did this mining giant perform during the last quarter?

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The South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) share price is on the move on Monday morning.

At the time of writing, the mining giant's shares are up 6% to $3.38.

Why is the South32 share price charging higher?

Investors have been buying the company's shares this morning following the release of its quarterly update.

For the three (and nine) months ended 31 March, South32 delivered production that was largely in line with expectations.

According to the release, aluminium production increased 1% year to date, as Hillside Aluminium achieved record production and Brazil Aluminium continued to ramp up toward nameplate capacity.

Alumina production decreased by 1% year to date after the company completed planned calciner maintenance at Worsley Alumina. The Brazil Alumina business remains on track to achieve production guidance.

The company advised that Cannington payable zinc equivalent production increased by 15% year to date. This was driven by the operation realising higher average metal grades, which offset the impact of heavy rainfall following Tropical Cyclone Kirrily.

Sierra Gorda payable copper equivalent production decreased by 13% year to date. This reflects higher throughput being offset by lower planned copper grade, and lower molybdenum recoveries in the current phase of the mine plan.

Over at Cerro Matoso, its payable nickel production decreased by 5% year to date but increased by 8% in the quarter due to higher planned nickel grades.

Illawarra Metallurgical Coal saleable coal production increased by 60% in the quarter. This was driven by the operation completing two planned longwall moves in the prior quarter and delivering improved longwall performance at the Appin mine.

As previously disclosed by the company, operations at Australia Manganese were temporarily suspended in March due to Tropical Cyclone Megan. Recovery plans are underway to enable a safe return to operations and ore exports.

Finally, South Africa Manganese achieved record production, delivering an 8% uplift in year to date production.

In light of the above, all of South32's FY 2024 production and operating unit cost guidance is unchanged, except for the Australia Manganese operation due to the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Megan.

'Achieved significant milestones'

South32's CEO, Graham Kerr, highlights that it was a busy quarter for the company. He said:

During the quarter, we achieved significant milestones aligned with our strategy to transform our portfolio toward commodities critical in the transition to a low-carbon future. We approved development of the Taylor zinc-lead-silver deposit at our Hermosa project, which is expected to deliver attractive returns over multiple decades and unlock further value as the first phase of our regional scale opportunity. We also announced our decision to sell Illawarra Metallurgical Coal for up to US$1.65 billion, which will realise significant value, further streamline our portfolio and unlock capital to invest in our high-quality base metals projects.

This quarter, we delivered improved operating results, highlighted by record year to date production at Hillside Aluminium and South Africa Manganese and a 60 per cent uplift in quarterly volumes at Illawarra Metallurgical Coal. […] With the exception of Australia Manganese, our FY24 production and Operating unit cost guidance is unchanged, placing us in a strong position to capitalise on strengthening market conditions for many of our key commodities.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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