Tharisa reports ‘strong’ mining production
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JOHANNESBURG - Tharisa Minerals, the JSE and London-listed platinum and chrome producer run by the Pouroulis family, said last week that mining production for the quarter ended March “strong” despite being interrupted by the 21-day national lockdown.
Chief executive Phoevos Pouroulis said the lockdown, which was announced at midnight on March26, had impacted mining.
Despite the lockdown, the company recorded an 11.9percent increase in the stripping ratio and a 1.8percent improvement in Platinum Group Metals (PGM) recovery to 83.7percent in the quarter, and 82.9percent for the six months ended March.
The strong PGM basket price of $1822 (R27690) an ounce for the quarter and $1612 an ounce for the six months, was also a boost for the company.
“The quarter under review showed a strong performance with Tharisa operating at consistent mining and stripping rates, with solid performances from ore processing,” said Pouroulis.
However, reef tons mined declined marginally to 1.13million tons in March from 1.14million tons in March 2019, chrome concentrate production fell 9.5percent to 310100 tons from 342500 tons in March 2019.
Third-party chrome production declined by 12.2percent for the quarter at 54700 tons from 62300 in 2019, as the K3 chrome plant started work late in January 2020.
The average metallurgical chrome price dropped to $129 a ton with current Chinese domestic prices trading at $130 a ton, on the back of reduced pipeline supplies from South Africa as a result of the operational lockdown.
Pouroulis said K3 remained operational, while the Vulcan Project had been suspended.
Tharisa was backing measures by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 and was applying best practice protocols.
“The impact of Covid-19 remains a significant and unquantifiable threat to South Africa’s economy - Tharisa fully supports the government’s initiatives to combat this global pandemic,” said Pouroulis.
Tharisa had fully complied with the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s essential services order to ensure that mines operated at reduced capacity during the lockdown, Pouroulis said.