Presentations made painless

Company > South32: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

South32: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Apr 18, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the business model of South32, a renowned mining and metals company. We will explore the key components of their business strategy and how they have positioned themselves in the industry. Additionally, a SWOT analysis will be conducted to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Furthermore, we will shed light on their competitors, analyzing the market landscape and exploring the challenges South32 may face in the coming years. Stay tuned for an in-depth examination of South32's business model and an evaluation of their competitive position in 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns South32 and the significance of its ownership structure
    • The mission statement of South32 and how it guides the company's operations
    • How South32 generates revenue and the key factors that contribute to its financial success
    • A comprehensive understanding of South32's business model canvas and its components
    • Identification of South32's main competitors and their impact on the market
    • A detailed SWOT analysis of South32, including its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    Who owns South32?

    South32 Ownership Structure

    South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company based in Australia. It operates in various regions around the world, extracting and producing a wide range of commodities, including aluminum, manganese, silver, and coal. However, when it comes to determining the ownership of South32, it is essential to understand its unique structure.

    Demerger from BHP Billiton

    South32 was created as a result of a demerger from BHP Billiton, a leading global resources company, in 2015. The demerger was aimed at simplifying BHP Billiton's operations and unlocking additional value for its shareholders. As a result, South32 became an independent entity, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

    Shareholder Base

    South32's ownership is widely distributed among institutional investors, retail shareholders, and other stakeholders. The company has a significant presence in Australia, with many Australian institutional investors holding shares in South32. Additionally, it is worth noting that South32's mining operations span across multiple countries, attracting interest from international investors.

    Key Shareholders

    While South32 has a diverse shareholder base, there are several key stakeholders who hold notable ownership stakes. BHP Group Limited, the parent company of BHP Billiton, remains a significant shareholder in South32, although its ownership stake has been gradually reduced over time. Other major shareholders include various institutional investors, such as BlackRock, Vanguard Group, and State Street Corporation.

    Employee Share Ownership

    South32 also promotes employee share ownership, allowing its employees to become shareholders and participate in the company's growth and success. This approach aligns the interests of employees with the long-term goals of the company, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment among the workforce.


    In conclusion, South32 is owned by a diverse group of shareholders, including institutional investors, retail shareholders, and employees. The demerger from BHP Billiton in 2015 marked South32's independence and paved the way for its own unique ownership structure. As the company continues to expand its global operations, its shareholder base is likely to evolve, reflecting its growing presence in the mining and metals industry.

    What is the mission statement of South32?

    The Mission Statement of South32: Empowering Sustainable Growth through Innovation and Collaboration

    South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company that operates across multiple continents. With a strong commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices, South32 has established a clear mission statement that guides its operations and strategic decisions.

    The mission statement of South32 is centered around empowering sustainable growth through innovation and collaboration. This mission encapsulates the company's dedication to not only achieving financial success but also ensuring that its activities contribute positively to society and the environment.

    Empowering Sustainable Growth

    South32's mission highlights its focus on sustainable growth, emphasizing the importance of long-term value creation while minimizing negative impacts on the planet. As a mining and metals company, South32 understands the significance of balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship.

    The mission statement reflects South32's commitment to implementing sustainable practices throughout its operations. This includes adopting efficient and responsible mining techniques, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water resources, and rehabilitating land affected by mining activities. By prioritizing sustainability, South32 aims to leave a positive and lasting impact on the communities and ecosystems in which it operates.

    Innovation and Collaboration

    Innovation plays a crucial role in South32's mission statement as it recognizes the importance of continuously improving its operations, processes, and technologies. South32 strives to be at the forefront of innovation within the mining and metals industry, seeking new ways to enhance efficiency, reduce waste, and minimize environmental impacts.

    Furthermore, South32 recognizes that collaboration is paramount in achieving its mission. The company actively engages with stakeholders, including local communities, governments, and industry partners, to foster mutually beneficial relationships. By collaborating with others, South32 aims to leverage shared knowledge, resources, and expertise to drive sustainable growth and create positive social and economic outcomes.

    Guiding Principles

    To ensure the realization of its mission, South32 follows a set of guiding principles that align with its values and strategic objectives. These principles include:

    1. Safety First: South32 prioritizes the health and safety of its employees, contractors, and communities, aiming for zero harm in all its operations.
    2. Operational Excellence: South32 strives for operational excellence by continuously improving its processes, systems, and technologies to maximize efficiency, productivity, and quality.
    3. Respect for People and the Environment: South32 respects the rights and cultures of the communities in which it operates, and it minimizes the environmental impact of its activities.
    4. Ethical and Transparent Conduct: South32 upholds the highest ethical standards in its business practices, ensuring transparency in its operations and interactions with stakeholders.
    5. Value Creation: South32 aims to create sustainable value for its shareholders, employees, and communities by delivering strong financial performance while considering social and environmental factors.

    Overall, South32's mission statement demonstrates its commitment to operating as a responsible and sustainable mining and metals company. By empowering sustainable growth through innovation and collaboration, South32 aims to contribute positively to the well-being of communities, the environment, and its stakeholders.

    How does South32 make money?

    Overview of South32

    South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company that operates across various regions, including Australia, South America, and South Africa. With a strong focus on sustainability and responsible mining practices, South32 extracts and produces a range of commodities, including alumina, aluminum, coal, manganese, nickel, silver, and zinc.

    Revenue Streams

    1. Sale of Commodities

    The primary source of revenue for South32 is the sale of the commodities it extracts and produces. These commodities are then sold to customers worldwide, including industrial manufacturers, traders, and other businesses. The company's diverse portfolio of commodities allows it to capitalize on different market conditions and mitigate risks associated with fluctuations in commodity prices.

    2. Contractual Agreements

    Another significant revenue stream for South32 comes from long-term contractual agreements with customers. These agreements provide stability and predictability to the company's revenue, as they typically involve the supply of commodities over an extended period. These contracts are often negotiated based on market conditions and can be an essential source of consistent income for South32.

    3. Royalties and Licensing

    South32 also generates revenue through royalties and licensing agreements. In some cases, the company may own mining rights but chooses to lease them to other entities in exchange for royalties. Additionally, South32 may license its proprietary technologies, processes, or brands to other companies, generating additional income streams.

    Cost Structure

    1. Production Costs

    One of the significant costs for South32 is associated with the production of commodities. This includes expenses related to mining operations, processing, transportation, and refining. As a mining company, South32 must invest in equipment, machinery, and infrastructure to extract and process the minerals and metals efficiently. These costs can vary depending on factors such as labor, energy prices, and regulatory requirements.

    2. Exploration and Development

    To maintain a sustainable business, South32 invests in exploration and development activities. These expenses are incurred in the search for new mineral deposits, as well as the evaluation and development of existing resources. Exploration costs can be substantial, especially in regions where viable deposits are yet to be discovered. However, successful exploration and development activities can lead to the discovery of new reserves, ensuring the long-term viability of South32's operations.

    3. Environmental and Social Responsibility

    As a responsible mining company, South32 incurs costs associated with environmental protection, community engagement, and social responsibility initiatives. These expenses are essential to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, promote sustainable practices, and contribute positively to local communities. By investing in these areas, South32 aims to minimize the environmental impact of its operations while building strong relationships with stakeholders.


    South32's revenue streams primarily come from the sale of commodities, contractual agreements, and royalties/licensing. While the company benefits from diverse commodities and long-term contracts, it also incurs costs related to production, exploration, and environmental/social responsibility. By balancing revenue generation and cost management, South32 aims to maintain profitability while operating sustainably in the mining and metals industry.

    South32 Business Model Canvas Explained

    What is the Business Model Canvas?

    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that provides a visual representation of a company's business model. It consists of nine key building blocks that describe the various aspects of a business, including its value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams, and key activities.

    Understanding South32's Business Model Canvas

    South32 is a globally diversified mining and metals company that operates across multiple continents. To understand their business model, let's break down each component of the Business Model Canvas for South32:

    Customer Segments

    South32 primarily serves customers in the mining and metals industry, including companies involved in steel production, manufacturing, and infrastructure development. They also cater to global commodity markets, supplying a wide range of metals and minerals.

    Value Proposition

    South32's value proposition lies in their ability to provide high-quality, sustainable, and responsibly sourced metals and minerals. They aim to meet the increasing global demand for essential commodities while minimizing their environmental impact and promoting social sustainability.


    South32 utilizes various channels to distribute their products and services. This includes direct sales to customers, partnerships with distributors, and participation in commodity exchanges. They also leverage digital platforms to enhance customer engagement and facilitate efficient supply chain management.

    Customer Relationships

    Building strong customer relationships is crucial for South32. They strive to establish long-term partnerships with their customers through open communication, reliable delivery, and continuous improvement. This enables them to understand customer needs better and tailor their offerings accordingly.

    Revenue Streams

    South32 generates revenue through the sale of metals and minerals extracted from their mining operations. These revenue streams are diversified across different commodities, regions, and customer segments. They also explore opportunities for value-added products and by-products to enhance their revenue streams.

    Key Resources

    As a mining company, South32 relies heavily on key resources such as mineral reserves, mining equipment, and skilled workforce. They also invest in research and development to explore new mining techniques, improve operational efficiency, and ensure sustainable resource management.

    Key Activities

    South32's key activities revolve around the exploration, extraction, processing, and marketing of metals and minerals. They constantly evaluate their mining assets, invest in new projects, and optimize their operations to maximize resource recovery and minimize environmental impact.

    Key Partnerships

    South32 collaborates with various stakeholders to support their business activities. This includes partnerships with local communities, government agencies, research institutions, and suppliers. These partnerships help ensure compliance with regulations, access to resources, and mutual benefits for all parties involved.

    Cost Structure

    South32's cost structure primarily consists of operational expenses related to mining activities, such as labor, energy, equipment maintenance, and environmental management. They also incur costs for compliance with safety regulations, community development initiatives, and technology investments.

    In conclusion, South32's Business Model Canvas highlights the key elements that drive their mining and metals business. By understanding these building blocks, it becomes evident how South32 strives to create value for their customers, society, and shareholders while maintaining a sustainable and responsible approach to resource extraction.

    Which companies are the competitors of South32?

    Major Competitors

    South32 operates in the mining and metals industry, which is highly competitive. Some of its major competitors include:

    1. BHP Billiton: BHP Billiton is one of the largest mining companies globally and operates in various commodities, including iron ore, copper, coal, and petroleum. With a diverse portfolio and extensive international presence, BHP Billiton poses a significant competition to South32.

    2. Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto is another major player in the mining industry, focusing on a range of commodities such as iron ore, aluminum, copper, diamonds, and energy. With a strong global footprint and large-scale operations, Rio Tinto competes directly with South32 in several markets.

    3. Glencore: Glencore is a diversified natural resources company, involved in mining, processing, and marketing of commodities such as coal, copper, zinc, and nickel. With a wide range of operations across the globe, Glencore competes with South32 in various markets and has a significant impact on the industry.

    Other Competitors

    Apart from the major competitors mentioned above, South32 faces competition from other companies in specific markets and commodities. Some notable competitors include:

    1. Anglo American: Anglo American is a globally diversified mining company, focusing on commodities like diamonds, platinum, copper, coal, and iron ore. While its operations may overlap with South32 in certain areas, Anglo American represents a competitor in specific markets and commodities.

    2. Vale: Vale is one of the largest mining companies, primarily focusing on iron ore, nickel, copper, and coal. With extensive operations in Brazil and other parts of the world, Vale competes with South32 in the iron ore market and other commodities.

    3. Freeport-McMoRan: Freeport-McMoRan is a leading international mining company, primarily engaged in copper, gold, and molybdenum production. Although its focus is different from South32, it competes in the copper market, which can impact South32's operations.

    4. Teck Resources: Teck Resources is a diversified resource company, involved in the production of coal, copper, zinc, and other metals. While its operations may not directly overlap with South32, Teck Resources can still represent competition in certain markets and commodities.

    Overall, South32 faces strong competition from major players like BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, as well as other companies operating in specific markets and commodities. The competitive landscape in the mining and metals industry requires South32 to continually innovate and adapt to stay ahead in this dynamic sector.

    South32 SWOT Analysis


    • Diversified Portfolio: One of the key strengths of South32 is its diversified portfolio of high-quality assets across multiple commodities. This reduces the company's exposure to fluctuations in any one commodity and provides a stable revenue stream.

    • Operational Excellence: South32 has a strong track record of operational excellence, with a focus on cost efficiency and productivity improvement. This enables the company to maintain competitive advantage and generate strong financial performance.

    • Strong Financial Position: The company boasts a strong financial position, with a healthy balance sheet and robust cash flows. This provides South32 with the ability to invest in growth opportunities, withstand market volatility, and return value to shareholders.


    • Dependence on Commodities: South32's business is heavily reliant on commodity prices, which are subject to volatility in global markets. This poses a risk to the company's revenue and profitability, especially during periods of low commodity prices.

    • Limited Geographic Presence: While South32 has a diversified portfolio of assets, its geographic presence is concentrated in a few regions, primarily Australia and South Africa. This limits the company's exposure to growth opportunities in other regions and increases its vulnerability to geopolitical and regulatory risks.

    • Environmental Concerns: Mining and resource extraction activities are associated with environmental risks and concerns. South32 needs to address these concerns effectively to maintain its social license to operate and avoid reputational damages.


    • Growth in Renewable Energy: The global shift towards renewable energy presents an opportunity for South32 to diversify its portfolio and invest in clean energy assets. By leveraging its expertise and financial strength, the company can capitalize on this growing market and contribute to a more sustainable future.

    • Expansion in Emerging Markets: As emerging markets continue to develop and urbanize, there is a growing demand for commodities to support infrastructure and industrialization. South32 can explore opportunities to expand its presence in these markets and tap into the potential for long-term growth.

    • Strategic Partnerships and Acquisitions: South32 can explore strategic partnerships and acquisitions to enhance its portfolio and gain access to new markets and technologies. Collaborations with other industry players can also help mitigate risks and share expertise in areas such as environmental sustainability and community engagement.


    • Economic Downturns: South32's business is vulnerable to economic downturns, which can lead to reduced demand for commodities and lower prices. A global recession or slowdown in key markets could adversely impact the company's financial performance and profitability.

    • Regulatory and Political Risks: The mining industry is subject to extensive regulations and policies, which can vary across jurisdictions. Changes in regulations or political instability in countries where South32 operates can pose risks to its operations and profitability.

    • Competitive Landscape: South32 operates in a highly competitive industry, with numerous global and local players. Intense competition can lead to price pressures and reduced market share. The company needs to continually innovate and differentiate itself to maintain its competitive edge.

    In conclusion, while South32 possesses strengths such as a diversified portfolio, operational excellence, and a strong financial position, it also faces weaknesses such as dependence on commodities and limited geographic presence. However, there are opportunities to capitalize on the growth in renewable energy, expand in emerging markets, and pursue strategic partnerships. It is essential for South32 to navigate threats such as economic downturns, regulatory and political risks, and the competitive landscape effectively to sustain its success in the mining industry.

    Key Takeaways

    • South32 is a publicly traded company, meaning it is owned by shareholders who hold its stock.
    • South32's mission statement focuses on sustainable development and delivering value to its stakeholders.
    • South32 generates revenue through the exploration, mining, and production of a range of natural resources, including aluminum, coal, manganese, and silver.
    • The Business Model Canvas provides a visual representation of South32's key activities, resources, partners, and value proposition, highlighting its unique approach to creating and delivering value.
    • Some of the main competitors of South32 include BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Vale, which also operate in the mining and metals industry.
    • In terms of SWOT analysis, South32's strengths include its diversified portfolio and strong operational performance, while its weaknesses include exposure to commodity price volatility. Opportunities for the company lie in expanding its operations in emerging markets, while threats include regulatory and environmental challenges.


    In conclusion, South32 is a globally recognized mining and metals company that operates in several countries around the world. While it is a separate entity, the majority of South32 is owned by its shareholders, with no single company or individual having full ownership.

    The mission statement of South32 is to create value and improve lives through sustainable and responsible mining practices. This reflects their commitment to not only generating profits but also ensuring the well-being of communities and the environment in which they operate.

    South32 primarily makes money through the exploration, extraction, and production of various commodities, including aluminum, manganese, and coal. By leveraging their expertise and advanced technologies, they are able to efficiently extract these resources and sell them in the global market.

    To better understand South32's business model, the Business Model Canvas provides a useful framework. It highlights key aspects such as customer segments, value propositions, channels, and revenue streams. This canvas enables a comprehensive view of the company's operations and how they create and capture value.

    As for competitors, South32 operates in a highly competitive industry. Some of its main rivals include Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, and Glencore. These companies also have a strong presence in the mining and metals sector and engage in similar activities, making the competition intense.

    Lastly, conducting a SWOT analysis of South32 reveals its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The company's strengths lie in its diverse range of commodities, strong operational capabilities, and commitment to sustainability. However, weaknesses such as dependence on volatile commodity prices and potential environmental challenges exist. Opportunities for growth can be found in emerging markets and technological advancements, while threats include regulatory changes and geopolitical tensions.

    In conclusion, South32 is a significant player in the mining and metals industry, constantly striving to achieve its mission of creating value while operating sustainably. With its unique business model, notable competitors, and a thorough understanding of its internal and external factors, South32 is positioned to navigate the challenges and seize opportunities in the ever-evolving global market.

    Want to create a presentation now?

    • instantly

      Instantly Create A Deck

      Let PitchGrade do this for me

    • smile

      Hassle Free

      We will create your text and designs for you. Sit back and relax while we do the work.

    Explore More Content