Africa-Press – South-Africa. THARISA Minerals, the platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome co-producer, started the year with a bang as it posted the best-ever quarterly production in South Africa during its first-quarter results, which ended on December 31.
Listed on the JSE and London stock exchanges, Tharisa said PGM production rose 9.2 percent quarter on quarter to 47 700 ounces, while chrome production rose 1.5 percent to 401 800 ounces. Average PGM basket price during this period were at $2 394 an ounce (R36 897 an ounce)
The mining firm maintained its production guidance for the year at between 165 000 ounces and 175000 ounces of PGMs, and between 1.75 million and 1.85 million tonnes of chrome concentrates.
“Covid-19 remains a risk to the Company, and guidance is premised on the current level of economic activity being maintained,” Tharisa said.
Tharisa, the world’s only co-producer of both platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome concentrates, operates a mine near Brits in North West and has two plants, Voyager and Genesis.
Chief executive Phoevos Pouroulis said: “A great start to our new financial year, which will see the company transform further with the developments at our flagship asset, namely the integration of the Vulcan fine chrome recovery circuit at the Tharisa Mine, enabling us to reach 2 Mt per annum of chrome production, reduce costs and carbon emissions per unit.
He said the companies growth plan sees its projects in Zimbabwe becoming integrated into the business within this financial year.
“Our innovative and strategic initiatives continue to benefit the Tharisa Mine, with both PGM and chrome concentrate output up quarter on quarter, and we see this trend continuing, as we work further on improving our grade mix and upgrading our stockpile levels, not only in volume but in overall quality,” said Pouroulis.
He said the company remained firmly on track to deliver and hoped to exceed its stated PGM and chrome concentrates guidance in the current financial year.
PGM miners play a critical role in the automotive sector. Last year, PGM prices surged and boosted PGM miners.
Mining consultant René Hochreiter said: “Tharisa had a very good first quarter, they came out with really good production results as the guidance had been maintained 165 000 ounces and 175 000 ounces for the year.
“If they could maintain the 47 000 ounces of PGM that they produced in the first quarter production, Tharisa is well-positioned to do well for PGM revenues and this financial year,” he said.
Hochreiter projects that PGM prices might go up slightly from last year, but not too much. He said the prices might increase as the worldwide shortage of computer chips seems to be alleviating itself.
“The chip shortages affect car sales, if you don’t have chips to put into cars then you can’t sell cars, and you are not buying PGMs to put into cars. It seems that the situation is becoming better, more chips are coming into the market, and it looks like car sales could improve in 2022 compared to last year and the year before. Car sales were down 14 percent,” he said.
Hochreiter said while it was still early in the year to predict the prices of PGM, the prices would go back to normal levels. This meant the demand of PGM’s could go back to normal.
“PGM price could firm this year but not very much because there is a little supply out there,” he said.