The financial year ended September 30 bodes well for JSE- and LSE-listed platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome miner Tharisa Minerals, with record production from its Tharisa mine, in South Africa’s Bushveld Complex, record high recovery rates and a best-in-class safety accolade.
“The significant advances we have made through our research and development 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,” CEO Phoevos Pouroulis said in a statement published on Monday.
Tharisa recorded a lost-time-injury frequency rate of 0.18 per 200 000 hours worked and the company was awarded “Best in Class” at the yearly MineSafe conference, which was held in August. At reporting period-end, Tharisa’s operations achieved 4 000 fatality-free production shifts.
The company recovered PGMs at 84.1%, exceeding the 80% target, with 152 000 oz produced, which was a 6% year-on-year production increase.
Pouroulis anticipated that implementation of necessary maintenance systems would see availability and use of mine equipment increasing in the next financial year, pushing the run-of-mine rate up to 5.2-million tonnes, compared with 4.9-million tonnes in the year under review.
Further, Tharisa recovered chrome at 66%, which is a 3% year-on-year recovery increase, with 1.4-million tonnes of chrome concentrate produced – which is up 8.8% year-on-year, excluding third-party production.
The company produced 367 700 t of speciality grade chrome concentrate, which accounted for 25.4% of total chrome concentrate production.
Tharisa exceeded targeted production, which was 200 000 t, at the Lonmin K3 chrome plant by 10.9% and produced 221 800 t.
Tharisa expects to produce 160 000 oz of PGMs and 1.5-million tonnes of chrome concentrates, of which 375 000 t should be speciality grade chrome concentrates, in the 2019 financial year.
The company’s Vision 2020 projects will ensure that Tharisa delivers 200 000 oz of PGMs and two-million tonnes of chrome concentrates in 2020 from the Tharisa mine.
Meanwhile, environmental-impact assessments for the PGMs and chrome exploration projects in Zimbabwe were progressing well and, once approved, drilling programmes would start.