File photo: Rick Kimpbell
Durban - Resource group Tharisa said it was meeting its production ­target after it reported improved results for the quarter to March.

During the quarter, the group said it had achieved good results where mined reef of 12 million tons continued to exceed the required run rate of 4.8 million tons per annum on an annualised basis.

Chief executive Phoevos Pouroulis said it was a quarter of steady production.

“Tharisa is proud to have performed at consistent levels for the fifth consecutive quarter. With substantially increased chrome concentrate prices achieved during the first half of financial year 2017, together with solid operational performance, we continue to deliver on our low cost, profitable co-product business model,” said Pouroulis.

The average per ounce platinum group metals (PGM) basket price for the three months to end March was $783 (R10 769), which was $43 an ounce higher than the $740 price achieved in the quarter to last December.

Tharisa is a low-cost producer of PGMs and chrome concentrate resulting from two distinct revenue streams from a single resource and costs being shared between the commodities.

The group said given the long life of the open pit of 18 years, Tharisa has embarked on the transition to an owner mining operating model.

Tharisa has engaged with its current contractor, MCC Contracts, to purchase the requisite fleet from MCC and to employ the employees currently in service at the Tharisa Mine.

Tharisa expects the transition in operating model to be completed in financial year 2017.

Read also: Weak metal prices hurt Tharisa's interim revenue

The group said the PGM recoveries at 76.2 percent and chrome recoveries at 62.5 percent were expected to be marginally lower than the recoveries of the previous quarter, mainly due to the weathered ore delivered to the processing plants from the open-pit extension in the central pit and new areas mined within the West pit. It said recoveries were planned to return to previous levels in the third quarter and this improvement was evidenced last month.

The group added that contracted metallurgical grade chrome concentrate prices increased by 35.2 percent as compared with the previous quarter with an average contract price of $338 per ton achieved during the quarter.

The group said half-year financial results for 2017 would be released on or about May 16.