Picture: Chris Ratcliffe
Johannesburg - JSE listed platinum and chrome producer Tharisa Minerals has posted strong production numbers for the third quarter and maintained its production guidance for the 2017 financial year.

Tharisa chief executive Phoevos Pouroulis said the company had again achieved incremental improvements in production volumes and recoveries.

“We continue to examine ways to further optimise our operations, and look forward to achieving our targeted recoveries and production outlook for the financial year,” Pouroulis said.

Tharisa operates Tharisa Mine 95km north-west of Johannesburg.

The company said that despite marginally lower throughput, total production of platinum-group metals (PGM) and chrome increased 3 percent and 6 percent respectively compared with the company’s second quarter.

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

It said PGM and chrome recoveries exceeded their targets for the quarter, with PGM recoveries at 81.3 percent, compared with a target of 80 percent, and chrome recoveries at 66 percent, against a target of 65 percent.

On track

Tharisa said production of PGM and chrome remained on track to meet the production guidance for the 2017 financial year of about 147400 ounces and 1.3 million tons respectively.

Of the 1.3 million tons of chrome concentrate, 300000 tons would be speciality grade, it said.

In terms of price forecasts, Tharisa, said the average PGM basket price for the three months to the end of June was R10443 ($792) an ounce, which was $9 an ounce higher than the R10355 ($783) in the quarter to the end of March.

Tharisa said the price of metallurgical-grade chrome concentrate had dropped from $338 a ton to $147 a ton.

There were signs that prices had found a floor, and of increased price stability in the chrome concentrate market, it said.

“Despite Chinese port stock levels of 2.46 million tons, liquidity has returned on the back of continued stainless steel demand and consumption out of China.

“The fundamentals of the global stainless steel market remain sound, with continued growth forecast in 2017 further supporting strong demand for chrome units in the form of ferrochrome and chrome ores,” the company said.

The group said it was studying Mining Charter III and the way forward to ensure that it complied with the controversial charter, which Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane published in the Government Gazette last month.

“Tharisa remains committed to transformation in the mining industry,” it said.

Last week Tharisa notified shareholders that the Competition Commission had approved the acquisition of MCC Contract Mining’s equipment, strategic components, site infrastructure and spare parts, and the transfer the employees at Tharisa Mine.

Tharisa shares dipped 0.07 percent on the JSE on Monday to close at R13.98.