PGMs propel Tharisa to a strong Q2 performance

The price of the average platinum group metal basket increased by 37.1% to US$3,290 per ounce

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Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO, Tharisa
  • PGMs production up 11.5%
  • Reports positive net cash position of US$31.4 million
  • Targeting to lift metal production to 200,000 PGM oz

Johannesburg – The ongoing platinum group metals (PGMs) price rally has fired Tharisa to a strong second quarter to 31 March 2021 (Q2 FY2021) performance. The Group reported a strong net cash balance while production increased from the prior year.

Tharisa, a chrome and PGMs miner’s operations are largely domiciled in South Africa and also has operations in Zimbabwe through Karo Holdings and Salene Chrome Zimbabwe.

PGMs production for the period scaled up 11.5% year-on-year on a 6E (six elements –platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and osmium) basis to 35,000 tonnes.

Chrome concentrate production was up 15.5% to 358,400 tonnes year-on-year, and specialty chrome production was up 11.8% to 85,600 tonnes.

However, quarter-on-quarter results were lower, as mining volume was impacted by exceptionally high seasonal rainfall, with severe lightning storms impacting in-pit operation time. PGM output was affected by a secondary mill motor failure impacting on recoveries.

Operations at the mill have since been restored to full capacity.

During the period the price of the average platinum group metal basket increased by 37.1% to US$3,290 per ounce which is 80.5% higher when set against the comparable quarter in 2020.

Benefiting from the strong prices, also boosted by an improvement in the chrome price which was up a fifth to $155/t, Tharisa had a cash balance of US$73.1 million and a debt of US$41.7 million, resulting in a positive net cash position of US$31.4 million.

Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO of Tharisa, commented:

“Tharisa’s second quarter performance saw an exceptional safety performance underpinned by solid production in what is traditionally our weakest quarter of the year. With the much higher commodity prices, Tharisa was able to convert production into cash flow, shown in our increased net cash balance, this while we are entering the major capital phase for the Vulcan plant which remains on track for construction to be completed this financial year. Despite the combined headwinds of extreme weather conditions as well as the ongoing impact of COVID-19 restrictions during the quarter, the continued optimisation of our operations resulted in consistent mining, underpinning our strategy of generating sustainable production from our long-life assets. We enter the second half of the year on track to deliver on our production guidance for the current financial year, providing a solid platform for further medium-term growth”.

Tharisa has earmarked this year for the completion of its Vulcan processing facilities which will lift metal production to 200,000 PGM oz and two million tons (Mt) of chrome concentrate.

In June 2018, Tharisa acquired a 26.8% shareholding in Karo Holdings, a platinum group metals (PGM) and base metals project in Zimbabwe. Subsequent to that, Tharisa also purchased a 90% stake in Salene Chrome Zimbabwe in May 2018.

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