THARISA Minerals. Photo supplied
JOHANNESBURG – Platinum group metals (PGM) and chrome co-producer Tharisa Minerals has cut its 2019 production target, saying that problems at its processing plants during the December quarter had rocked output.

The London and JSE listed firm said on Friday that in the December quarter platinum production had dropped by 5.9 percent to 33600 ounces, while chrome concentrate output had declined by 10percent to 305400 tons.

Speciality grade chrome concentrates decreased by 27.2percent to 72000 tons, from 98000 tons, in the previous quarter.

The company, which is led by the Pouroulis family, said the lower recoveries were as a result of processing commissioning tailings.

It also blamed reduced availability of equipment, particularly in the drill and blast operations, for hampering production.

Tharisa chief executive Phoevos Pouroulis said the company was in the process of ironing out problems at its plants.

“We are addressing the operational performance of the mining division with particular reference to equipment availability and utilisation through pro-active maintenance and enhancing the capacity of our drill and blast operations,” he said.

He also conceded that it did not anticipate the full impact that blending tailings material would have on overall recoveries.

“We will revert back to processing fresh run-of-mine material from mid- January and will achieve our targeted recoveries,” he said.

The company benefited from the higher average PGM metal basket price for the quarter, which was 5.9percent higher at $983 an ounce (R13563 an ounce), in dollar terms from the last quarter and 7.5percent in rand terms.

BUSINESS REPORT