PAPHOS, Cyprus – “While the PGM basket price increased by over 80% on an annual basis, this was somewhat dampened by the softer PGM basket price in the last quarter, which saw the average basket price reduce by 25% QoQ,” Tharisa reported.
While the upside price movement may be perceived to have overrun, short term supply-demand disruptions need to be countered by the strong fundamentals of PGMs in the longer term, driven by a healthy outlook for the internal combustion engine, investment and industrial demand.
While substitution will take place between palladium and platinum in catalytic converters over time, the inability to substitute the minor metals, the largest of which is rhodium, ensures that the PGM basket price will remain robust for at least the next 5-year period.
According to Tharisa, chrome prices improved in the last quarter with an increase of over 4% compared to the June 2021 quarter, and also saw an increase of 10% on an annual basis, with spot trading at US$165/t.
Prices will need to remain at these levels for most producers to remain profitable and continue to invest, as shipping rates have dented margins, with the global logistic industries continuing to be impacted by the pandemic and challenges with supply chain management.
Despite some output cuts at stainless steel plants in China, output is nevertheless expected to increase close to double digit percentage growth compared to 2020 as both domestic demand and export demand drives higher output levels in China. South African inland logistics issues have led to longer supply chains and thus increased pricing for products, while stockpiles of chrome at port level in China remain constant.
- Total reef mined slightly down QoQ but up over 8% YoY to 5.4 Mt
- Annual stripping ratio of 11.6 m3: m3 ahead of LOM requirements
- Tonnes milled increased QoQ leading to an increase in milled tonnes for the year of over 11% to 5.6 Mt
- Record quarterly PGM production at 43.7 koz leading to an annual output of 157.8 koz, within guidance
- Record quarterly chrome output of 395.7 kt leading to an increase YoY of 12% in chrome output to 1 506.1 kt, within guidance
- The improvements in PGM grade to 1.59 g/t are as a direct result of the mining efficiencies achieved in the last 18 months, allowing the mine to focus on ‘right mining’ to achieve the optimal grade mix
- Correct grade mix has resulted in the plants running optimally, leading to improved recoveries
- The mine has approximately 2-months ROM stockpile ahead of the plants
- Salene Chrome is on track to commence production in Q1 FY2022
- Salene Chrome mining has commenced, and the metallurgical plant construction is in progress
- Karo Platinum implementation studies completed