Platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome concentrate producer Tharisa reports that its Tharisa mine, in the North West, achieved its highest production ever during the quarter ended September 30.
PGM output for the quarter increased to 43 700 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, osmium and gold (6E), compared with the 39 000 oz of 6E produced in the June quarter. Output was also higher than the 40 500 oz of 6E produced in the September 2020 quarter.
Chrome concentrate production, meanwhile, increased to 395 700 t for the quarter, compared with the 379 700 t produced in the June quarter and the 370 800 t produced in the September 2020 quarter.
"This performance follows several strategic initiatives to optimise the operation. These have built a sustainable platform for Tharisa to deliver further significant growth over the long life of our openpit operations," says CEO Phoevos Pouroulis.
Further, PGM production for the financial year ended September 30 increased to 157 800 oz of 6E, compared with the 142 100 oz of 6E produced in the 2020 financial year.
Chrome concentrate production for the full-year increased to 1.51-million tonnes, compared with the 1.34-million tonnes produced the year before.
JSE- and LSE-listed Tharisa notes that the record production had further strengthened the company's balance sheet, with the company having ended the financial year with a cash balance of $83.4-million and a positive net cash position of $47.9-million.
It expects to produce between 165 000 oz and 175 000 oz of 6E PGMs and between 1.75-million and 1.85-million tonnes of chrome concentrate in the 2022 financial year.
"With the 2022 full-year production guidance provided for the Tharisa mine, we see further growth particularly from the investment made in the Vulcan plant, which is in the cold commissioning phase and will produce chrome concentrates before the end of 2021.
"In Zimbabwe, the exciting developments with Salene Chrome, in the construction phase, as well as the progress on the development of Karo platinum, will contribute to Tharisa’s growth trajectory over the next two years," says Pouroulis.
The Vulcan ultrafine chrome processing plant is expected to increase recoveries of chrome concentrate to above 80%, thereby increasing chrome production by 25% to two-million tonnes.
Further, Salene Chrome is on track to start production in the first quarter of the 2022 financial year, while implementation studies have been completed for Karo Platinum.
"As we enter the next phase of the development of our business, Tharisa remains a key participant in the global transition to a low-carbon economy through the critical metals we produce.
"Not only will Tharisa contribute to this transition, we will deliver on our stated goals of reaching 30% reduction in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 through the extraordinary skills and initiatives of our own research and development team, as well as the adoption of leading technologies,” comments Pouroulis.