In a report for the three months to the end of June, the Cyprus-based firm said the average PGM basket price for the period was $947 (R12731) an ounce, which, on a quarter-to-quarter basis, was fractionally lower in dollar terms, but 4.9percent higher in rand terms, due to a 5percent weakening of the rand against the dollar.
On the other hand, the average metallurgical grade chrome concentrate price was $193 per ton, which translated into a 6.3percent drop in dollar terms. The weaker rand, however, offset the drop in prices.
“Spot prices have since returned to above the $200-per-ton level. Strong stainless steel market fundamentals are expected to continue supporting metallurgical grade chrome concentrate demand. Specialty chrome concentrates, which comprise about 25percent of Tharisa’s total chrome concentrate production, continue to attract a significant premium to metallurgical chrome concentrate prices,” the company said.
Tharisa wants to increase production in terms of its Vision 2020 programme. According to the company, the Vision 2020 growth projects will ensure that Tharisa delivered 5.9million tons of run-of-mine material a year and 2million tons of chrome concentrates a year by 2020.
The company said yesterday it was making progress in obtaining regulatory approvals in Zimbabwe. These included approvals for the “national project status” applications and environmental impact assessment reports and approvals. Upon obtaining the approvals, Tharisa said it would start with exploration programmes.