Tharisa: Stable mining and PGM output as Vulcan Plant comes online

Tharisa, the platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome co-producer dual-listed on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges, announces production and cash balance numbers for Q2 FY2022.

Second quarter highlights

  • Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (‘LTIFR’) of 0.72 per 200 000 man-hours worked
  • Mining rates maintained with mining blend optimised for PGMs, resulting in slightly lower chrome grade
  • Steady recoveries, despite secondary mill breakdowns, resulting in slightly lower quarterly production in Q2 compared to the record Q1:
  • PGM production of 44.1 koz, down 7.5% (Q1: 47.7 koz) at an improved average PGM basket price up 17.2% at US$2 806/oz (Q1: US$2 394/oz)
  • Chrome production of 374.9 kt, down 6.7% (Q1: 401.8 kt), at an improved average metallurgical grade chrome price up 9.9% to US$177/t (US$161/t)
  • Gradual ramp up of Vulcan Plant production with plant commissioning
  • Consistent production into rising commodity prices further strengthened the Company’s balance sheet
  • Cash balance of US$101.5 million and a positive net cash position of US$25.9 million
  • FY2021 final dividend payment of US$14.1 million on 16 March 2022
  • Announced acquisition of remaining 26% shareholding in Tharisa Minerals in a landmark BEE transaction
  • Acquired controlling interest in Karo Mining Holdings with exercise of farm-in option at a discount to the project NPV for a purchase consideration of US$27.0 million
  • Appointed Bernard Pryor as MD of Karo Mining Holdings post quarter end

Phoevos Pouroulis, CEO of Tharisa, commented: “Another safe and strong mining performance in what is traditionally our toughest operating quarter. Mining rates remain at record levels with production being impacted by certain secondary mill challenges which have since been addressed. These challenges dampened throughput and in turn production. This quarter’s output, though slightly lower, needs to be measured against our record breaking quarterly run rate and our step change to higher output remains intact on an annualised basis. Despite these challenges, on a half year comparable basis to 2021, PGM and chrome concentrates production increased by 22.2% and 6.3% respectively.

With continued focus on grade and throughput and the ramp-up of the Vulcan Plant production, we remain confident on achieving market guidance.

As Tharisa maintains its growth strategy, we have taken significant strides in simplifying the Group structure, through the consolidation of our ownership of Tharisa Minerals in a landmark BEE transaction, benefiting all shareholders. We also progressed our much anticipated cross border step by announcing our plans for developing the tier 1 Karo PGM project, doubling our PGM production within 24 months.

The transformation of Tharisa into a multi-asset, multi-commodity and multi-jurisdiction business, combined with strong PGM and chrome prices, as well as the further production upside from initiatives including the ramp of the Vulcan Plant at the Tharisa Mine, provide a very healthy outlook for the prospects of the Company in the second half of the year, and beyond.”

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