Dual-listed Eastern Platinum’s (Eastplats’) revenue for the third quarter ended September 30 increased by 8.1% year-on-year to $17.2-million, taking revenue for the nine months ended September 30 to $55.1-million – a 4.8% year-on-year increase.
Mine operating income increased by $2.5-million, or 133.6%, to $4.4-million for the quarter, resulting in an improved gross margin of 25.7%.
Mine operating income for the nine months increased by $5.4-million, or 80.3%, to $12-million, resulting in an improved gross margin of 21.7%.
Eastplats posted a widened net loss attributable to equity shareholders of $4.1-million for the quarter, compared with a net loss attributable to equity shareholders of $2.5-million in the third quarter of 2021, mainly as a result of a larger foreign exchange loss owing to the significant depreciation of the rand to the dollar in the period.
The company continues its retreatment project at Barplats Mines’ tailings facility at the Crocodile River mine (CRM) in South Africa.
Chrome concentrate production for the third quarter was 154 412 t, taking output for the nine months to 445 373 t.
The majority of the company’s revenue is generated from an offtake agreement with Union Goal Offshore in relation to chrome concentrate production from the retreatment project and the remaining from PGM concentrate sales to Impala Platinum.
Eastplats is currently owed about $16.4-million from Union Goal in accounts receivable from processing and dispatching chrome concentrate in addition to $2.6-million for chrome concentrate not yet invoiced.
Management says it continues to communicate with Union Goal to determine an agreeable outcome. The company still expects to receive all monies owed to it and will pursue all commercial options available to it to collect these amounts.
The PGM circuit D and PGM main circuit B are noted to continue to drive revenue growth and gross margin improvement for the company.
PGMs production for the third quarter was 2 477 oz, taking PGMs production for the nine months to 6 489 oz.
“We continue to focus on achieving a commercial result to reduce Union Goal’s outstanding receivables. Furthermore, we are working with our South Africa management team to reduce production costs.
“We remain committed to the Zandfontein underground restart plan, and expect the initial processing of the upper group two chromitite ore in the first quarter of 2023,” comments CEO and president Wanjin Yang.
Eastplats' targets for the full year are to operate and optimise the retreatment project and maximise returns, completion of the optimisation programme for the retreatment project, and to assess the value for continued use of the chrome recovery plant after optimisation.
It will also look to operate and optimise the PGM circuits; raise capital to accelerate the restart of Zandfontein underground operations at the CRM, develop eastern limb projects and support ongoing operations; and complete the second phase of the tailings storage facility capital works programme.
Eastplats will also advance the Mareesburg project’s environmental work to complete the legal analysis on the environmental-impact assessment (EIA) and other environmental studies and amendments; continue prospecting and assessment work in relation to Zandfontein, Crocette and Spitzkop ore; and keep working on the EIA assessment, and structure- and geology-related drill programme at Spitzkop.
The company will also aim to complete EIA and assessment work regarding a vertical furnace and pelletizer of chrome concentrate and update other capital assessments upon completion of capital fundraising.