Owing to strong operating results from its Crocodile River Mine (CRM) retreatment project, JSE-listed platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome miner Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) reports that its revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020, increased by 43.1% year-on-year, to $56.1-million.
However, its headline loss a share widened to $0.09 apiece, from $0.03 apiece in 2019; with the loss a share having widened to $0.08 apiece, from $0.00 apiece in the prior corresponding period.
Its net loss to equity shareholders was $8-million for 2020, compared with earnings to equity shareholders of $100 000 for the prior year, as a result of an increase in noncash finance costs, foreign exchange losses and the legal settlements with AlphaGlobal.
The miner’s operating income was also marginally up, from $5.5-million in 2019, to $5.6-million in 2020; while cash generated from operations during 2020 was $1.6-million, an improvement from a loss of $8.8-million in 2019.
At period-end, Eastplats had positive working capital (excluding noncash deferred revenue and lease liability) of $8.5-million.
The availability of the CRM retreatment project as a 24-hour continuous operation (including chrome recovery plant, deposition and remining on the tailings dam) including planned maintenance, improved significantly in 2020 to 86%, up from 76% in 2019.
As such, Eastplats produced 987 003 t of chrome concentrate – a 68% year-on-year increase.
In addition, on March 10, Eastplats and Union Goal signed updated retreatment project agreements, which capitalised on Eastplats’ two years of operating knowledge and continued commitment to the long-term benefits of the project.
Following the mandatory general lockdown imposed by the government of South Africa in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, Eastplats only restarted the PGMs circuit during the third quarter of 2020 and nonetheless completed the refurbishment of the small-scale PGMs circuit – PGM Circuit D.
The company generated about 134 t of pressed filter cake PGMs concentrate and delivered about 32.18 t during 2020.
Eastplats’ targets this year have been updated following a completed rights offering in January, and include the continual operation of the CRM project efficiently, completing the upgrades and operating the PGM Circuit D, completing the enhancement of the CRM project and establishing the appropriate Phase 2 tailings storage facility capital works programme.
The miner is also looking to upgrade and repair the CRM Zandfontein underground shaft and rock winder to ensure they are available for PGM operations, complete the refurbishment of the existing PGM main circuit to increase the capacity and recovery opportunity of PGMs, and complete the environmental-impact assessment for a haul road for the Mareesburg project.
This year, Eastplats also envisages prospecting and assessing work in relation to the Zandfontein, Crocette and Spitzkop orebodies; conducting feasibility and assessment work regarding a vertical furnace and pelletiser of chrome concentrate; assessing CRM’s underground potential including all chrome recovery activities in relation to the project; and funding capital requirements for care and maintenance, working capital and general and administrative costs.
CEO Diana Hu says the company has established stable operations with the CRM retreatment project and is seeking to complete its enhancement programme by the end of the third quarter of this year.
“This stability will enable growth with PGMs extraction through both the PGM Circuit D and the PGM main circuit. These projects are expected to increase the revenue and income of Eastplats.”
This year, she says the company’s focus is on operations and cash-flow to continue to build shareholder value.