South32 has entered into a binding agreement to sell Illawarra Metallurgical Coal to an entity owned by Golden Energy and Resources Pte Ltd (GEAR) and M Resources Pty Ltd for upfront and deferred cash consideration of $1.3 billion plus contingent price-linked consideration of up to $350 million.
The sale is expected to complete in the first half of South32’s 2025 financial year, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions.
“This transaction will realise significant value for our shareholders and is consistent with our strategy to reshape our portfolio toward commodities critical in the transition to a low-carbon future,” Graham Kerr, South32 Chief Executive Officer, said. “It will streamline our portfolio, strengthen our balance sheet and unlock capital to invest in our high-quality development projects in copper and zinc. The transaction will also simplify our business and reduce our capital intensity.”
Illawarra Metallurgical Coal produces high-quality metallurgical coal, a key ingredient in the in the production of steel, which will be required in the steelmaking process until low-carbon steel becomes economically viable on a commercial scale.
Illawarra Metallurgical Coal has underground mines at Appin and Dendrobium, which produce premium-quality, hard coking coal for steelmaking. In South32’s 2023 financial year, it produced almost 5.5 Mt of this product.
GEAR and M Resources are established participants in the Australian metallurgical coal industry, with a strong commitment to environmental and safety standards, who are well positioned to continue Illawarra Metallurgical Coal’s contribution to the local steel industry and the Illawarra and Macarthur regions, according to South32.
“Our focus remains the safe and reliable operation of Illawarra Metallurgical Coal,” Kerr said. “Over the coming months we will work with the buyer, our workforce, the local community, government, customers and suppliers to support a successful transition of ownership.”