South32, a mining company, has announced that it anticipates incurring a noncash impairment expense of approximately $1.3 billion related to the Taylor deposit at its Hermosa project in the Patagonia Mountains of southern Arizona.
Independent Development of Taylor Deposit
Recent studies have revealed that South32 can develop the Taylor zinc-lead-silver and Clark battery-grade manganese deposits independently. As a result, the company is now required to evaluate these deposits and the regional exploration land package on an individual basis.
Factors Impacting Taylor Deposit
Since the acquisition of the Hermosa project in 2018, the Taylor deposit has faced several challenges, including delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Executive Graham Kerr expressed disappointment with these setbacks, stating, “We are disappointed by the delays resulting from the impact of Covid, the significant dewatering requirements and current inflationary market conditions.”
Unlocking Additional Value
Despite the impairments, South32 recognizes significant potential in unlocking additional value across the Taylor, Clark, and regional exploration package. However, this optionality has not been considered in the current impairment assessment.