Tharisa reports PGM recoveries at 84.1, exceeds target of 80 percent


    Harare – JSE- and LSE-listed platinum-group metals (PGMs) and chrome producer Tharisa Minerals PGM production for the year ended September 30, 2018 was up 6 percent to 152.2 koz.

    Tharisa CEO Phoevos Pouroulis says in addition the company achieved chrome recoveries at 66.0 percent, an increase of 3.0 percent from last year and total chrome concentrate production of 1 448.0 kt, up 8.8 percent  year on year.

    “The past fiscal year saw yet another year of record production from the Tharisa mine, with the highest recovery rates on record, and a Best in Class safety award.

    “The significant advances we have made through our own R&D, has seen Tharisa adopt new technologies, increase our ability to beneficiate our products and has the potential to improve our ability to maximise revenues from our operations.

    “This strong operational performance at the Tharisa Mine provides a solid foundation for the development of the highly prospective exploration projects in Zimbabwe.”

    The average PGM contained metal basket price for FY2018 was US$923/oz (ZAR12 038/oz), which increased by 17.4 percent in US$ terms from FY2017 and 14.7 percent in ZAR terms.

    In the period under review the average metallurgical grade chrome concentrate price was US$186/t (ZAR2 415/t), 7.0 percent lower in US$ terms and 9.4 percent lower in ZAR terms for FY2018.

    Pouroulis said specialty chrome concentrates, which accounted for 25.4 percent of Tharisa’s annual chrome production, continue to attract a significant premium to metallurgical chrome concentrate prices.

    Tharisa’s mining division mined 4.9 Mt of ROM for FY2018, a 3.0% decrease year on year.

    A total of 11.1 Mm3 of waste rock was mined for the year. Whilst the stripping ratio of 7.9 on a m3:m3 basis remained below the LOM average of 9.6, it represented a 5.3% increase from the previous year.

    He added that during the period under review there was a reduction in year on year mining mainly due to availability of equipment.

    “This was a result of an ongoing comprehensive maintenance plan to return the used mining fleet, purchased by Tharisa, to OEM standards.

    “The implementation of the necessary maintenance systems will see availability and utilisation increasing for FY2019, enabling the fleet to achieve the required mining rate of 5.2 Mt. A key focus of the mining division is improving the efficiencies of the drill and blast operations, which is essential to achieving the required stripping ratio.

    “This will ensure ongoing access to the reef horizons and maintaining the supply of ore to the processing plants.”

    The PGM rougher feed grade was marginally lower for the year at 1.51 g/t, while the Cr2O3 ROM feed grade improved by 2.3 percent to 18.2 percent for the year.

    “A portion of the historically mined lower grade PGM stockpiles were utilised during the year to feed the processing plants, resulting in the lower PGM rougher feed grade. There is continued focus to increase the ROM stockpile during FY2019 with the appropriate blend of reef horizons.”

    In its future prospects the miner said its FY2019 production guidance is 160.0 koz of PGMs and 1.5 Mt of chrome concentrates, of which 375.0 kt will be speciality grade chrome concentrates.

    “The Vision 2020 projects will ensure that Tharisa delivers 200.0 koz of PGMs and 2.0 Mt of chrome concentrates in 2020 from the Tharisa Mine. The Tharisa team will continue to implement the Vision 2020 projects during FY2019.

    “The Environmental Impact Assessments for the exploration projects for both PGM and chrome businesses in Zimbabwe are progressing well, and once approved, the exploration programmes will commence.”

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