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Australian miner South32 has exercised its right to purchase a further 25% interest in Mozambique-based Mozal Aluminium from Mitsubishi’s MCA Metals for $250m.

The move increases South32’s total ownership of the smelter to 72.1%.

South32 CEO Graham Kerr said: “We have established a long operating track record at the Mozal Aluminium smelter in Mozambique over the past 20 years.”

Mozal Aluminium is an aluminium smelter and transport infrastructure located 20km west of Maputo.

Kerr said: “The smelter benefits from access to hydroelectric power and key export markets into Europe. Our investment in the AP3XLE energy-efficiency technology is expected to further improve the competitiveness of the smelter, which continues to operate at its technical capacity.

“The smelter is an important customer for the alumina produced from our Worsley Alumina refinery and the transaction will further integrate that relationship in our supply chain.”

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South32 is also working with its partner at the Alumar refinery in Brazil to study a smelter restart using renewable energy.

Kerr added: “Both investments are consistent with our strategy to increase our exposure to the base metals required for the critical transition to a low carbon future.”

South32 currently holds a 47.1% stake in Mozal Aluminium. Other shareholders in the project include Mitsubishi Corporation Metals Holding (25%), Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (24%) and the Government of the Republic of Mozambique (3.9%).

Earlier this year, South32 pledged to increase its capital management programme by $200m to reach $1.88bn and reduce emissions.

The miner aims to achieve a 50% reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 operational emissions by 2035.