THARISA Minerals, a low cost platinum group metals and chrome concentrate producer.Photo supplied.
DURBAN – Intergrated resource group Tharisa is set to end the year in a strong position after it reported improved production update for the quarter to end June.

The group said that production in chrome concentrate had increased 8.2 percent during the quarter from 308700 tons compared to the previous quarter.

However, chrome concentrate production fell 11percent year-on-year from 376300 tons in the previous quarter.

The average chrome price rose slightly to $174 (R2466) from $162 a ton at the end of March quarter.

Tharisa chief executive Phoevos Pouroulis said the improvement in key production metrics during the quarter set the mine up for a strong finish to the 2019 financial year and good momentum into 2020.

“The pit redesign, which has been largely completed, and our ability to move tonnage ensures that we develop a sustainable and viable large-scale open pit operation, capable of producing volume output for the years ahead.

“The changes we made in the past quarters with regards to mining fleet improvement and pit optimisations will benefit us into the future,” Pouroulis said.

The group’s reef tons mined continued to improve during the quarter, rising 2percent to 1.16million tons from 1.13million tons the prior quarter, but declined 6.5percent from 1.24million tons recorded during the similar period last year.

Additional material available to the mine resulted in total reef tons milled increasing 5.4percent to 1.21million tons in the quarter, bringing total tons mined to 3.38million tons and total tons milled to 3.54million tons for the year to date.

The group said platinum group metals (PGM) production also inched up slightly by 0.3percent to 34100 ounces from 34000 ounces compared to the previous quarter but was down by 14 percent decline from 39500 ounces compared to last year.

However, on a nine-month basis, platinum production was down 13 percent to 101700 ounces, down from 116 500 ounces compared to last year.

The group said the average PGM contained metal basket price for the third quarter was up by 4.1percent to R15 297 an ounce.

Tharisa shares declined 2.62percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R20.45.

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