Australian metals miner South32 is a 2015 BHP Billiton spinoff named to reflect the southern latitude where most of its assets are located. In its new iteration, South32 has a bias toward developing its business in “base” metals, those metals considered common and therefore non-precious, where it expects to see growth as the world transitions to a lower carbon economy. The firm expects these base metals to be the focus of future responsible extraction for use in infrastructure, energy generation, consumer products and vehicles.

Today South32 produces bauxite, alumina, aluminum, coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc at sites in Australia, Southern Africa and South America and owns development options in North America. Since the spinoff however, it seeks to identify and pursue only those opportunities it believes will sustainably reshape its business for the future to create enduring social, environmental and economic value.

The firm’s “Innovate32” program invests in strategic initiatives across business lines, with special focus on new technologies including cybersecurity, connectivity, enterprise systems, robotics and data science. For example, South32 has rolled out remote, mobile robots for safer inspections in confined spaces. Last year South32 joined the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary CEO-led initiative focused on corporate sustainability.

A South32 remote visual inspection robot at work in Australia, credit Waygate Technologies

As of 12/31/20, South32 and BHP were not held in the Knowledge Leaders Strategy.

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