Diversified miner South32 has reported an annual statutory profit after tax of $2.67bn for the year ended 30 June 2022, versus a loss of $195m in the same period last year, benefiting from increasing aluminium and metallurgical prices.

The profit was driven by higher realised prices for its key metals that helped in offsetting the impact of labour shortage and weather-related disruptions, reported Reuters.

The firm’s underlying earnings rose by 432% year-on-year to $2.6bn, while free cash flow from operations stood at $2.6bn.

South32 CEO Graham Kerr said: “We delivered record earnings and cash flow in FY22 as our stable operating performance and recent portfolio improvements enabled us to capitalise on the significant tailwind of commodity prices.”

The company’s revenue for fiscal 2022 increased to $9.27bn from $5.47bn in the prior year while underlying EBITDA soared 156% to $4.75bn.

In the wake of this surge, South32 announced 3¢ per share in special dividend and a final dividend of 14¢, bringing shareholder returns to $1.3bn for fiscal 2022.

Kerr added: “The board has also resolved to further expand our capital management program by $156m to $2.3bn, leaving $250m to be returned to shareholders by 1 September 2023.

“Looking forward, we are well positioned to navigate the current economic uncertainty. We have a strong balance sheet with net cash of $538m after funding our new investments during the year, while our ongoing focus on cost management and an expected 14% increase in production will mitigate industry-wide cost inflation.

“We have repositioned our portfolio toward metals critical for a low-carbon future, having already established a pipeline of high-quality development options.”

For fiscal 2023, the mining firm anticipates capital expenditure of $1.2bn while its copper equivalent production is expected to increase by 14%.