Tharisa would delay commissioning its Karo mine in Zimbabwe by up to a year to June 2025, due to current weak platinum group metal (PGM) prices and an uncertain global economic outlook, the miner said yesterday.
Tharisa is building the 194 000 ounce per year Karo PGM mine at a cost of $391 million (R7.4 billion) on Zimbabwe's Great Dyke, about 100 km south-west of the capital Harare. The mine, which is close to Impala Platinum's Zimplats operations, was due to be commissioned by July 2024.
"Given the current PGM basket price weakness and uncertain global economic outlook, we have taken the measured decision to extend the Karo Platinum timeline out to commissioning by June 2025, with the opportunity to accelerate the timeline as markets become more favourable," the South Africa-based Tharisa said.
The prices of PGMs, mainly used to make catalytic converters which help control emissions in vehicle engines, have declined rapidly over the past year.
Tharisa realised an average PGM basket price of $1 893 per ounce in the year ended September 30, 26% lower than the average price of $2564 per ounce it received during the same period in 2022.
PGM major Sibanye Stillwater's CEO Neal Froneman has warned of "significant restructuring" which could result in shaft closures, and job losses in the platinum industry due to the current low metal prices.