JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified mining company Assore on Thursday posted record-upon-record in what has been an outstanding 12 months for the JSE-listed chrome ore, manganese ore and iron-ore producer that also bettered its lost time injury frequency rate in the period but sadly suffered a fatality.
The 12 months to June 30 represented the fourth consecutive financial year of record iron-ore and chrome ore sales and production, along with record attributable 2%-higher R5.1-billion earnings for the second consecutive year and a record annual dividend of R22 a share.
“The Chinese authorities’ enforcement of more stringent environmental controls had a positive impact on the demand for the group’s higher quality products. The Black Rock mine achieved record manganese ore production while Sakura Ferroalloys in Malaysia reached full capacity of ferromanganese production in the year,” Assore CEO Charles Walters said in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.
Strong cash generation within the group resulted in net cash increasing by 56% to R7.9-billion.
Its strong balance sheet and good operational cash generation has enabled the company to declare a final dividend of R12 a share, compared with R14 a share for the full 2017 financial year.
Sadly, a work-related fatality occurred on March 30 at Sakura Ferroalloys in Malaysia, in which Assmang holds a 54.36% shareholding.
Assore’s principal investments are made up of a 50% interest in Assmang, which it controls jointly with African Rainbow Minerals, and 100% ownership of Dwarsrivier Chrome Mine which was acquired with effect from July 1.
Dwarsrivier, an underground chrome mine located in Limpopo province, has a production capacity of 1.6-million tons of chrome product a year.
Assmang mines both iron-ore at Khumani and Beeshoek and manganese ore at Black Rock, all located in the Northern Cape.
It has manganese smelting facilities at Cato Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal and Sakura has a design capacity of 216 000 t of ferromanganese a year.
Smelting operations at Cato Ridge and Machadodorp completed the year without recording a lost-time injury.
Operations at Assmang achieved a lost time injury frequency rate of 0.13 compared with 0.17 of the previous year. The rest of the group, however, showed a slight increase to 0.27 compared with 0.25 of the previous year, which included an improvement by Dwarsrivier from 0.19 to 2.20.