WESTERN Australian resources player Consolidated Minerals Limited has announced a reduced half-year after tax trading profit of $7.4 million, reflecting the impact of lower manganese and nickel prices. Following adjustments relating to Australian International Financial Reporting Standards conversion and write-downs, ConsMins reported a bottom line after-tax profit of $3.2 million, compared with a $22 million trading after-tax profit for the previous corresponding period. The key driver for the drop in half-year results was the fall in the manganese and nickel prices from their previous highs, with world manganese markets experiencing a period of volatility and short-term oversupply of alloys. Notwithstanding these factors, the underlying cash generation of the company’s businesses remained strong, with sales revenue increasing by 21.3 per cent to $103.8 million, against a 2004 figure of $85.6 million. As at December 31 2005, ConsMins’ cash reserves, receivables and inventories totalled $86 million with net gearing remaining low, providing a strong platform for continued growth. ConsMins managing director Michael Kiernan said the first half was operationally solid underpinned by continuing strong demand for carbon steel materials in China.