Tharisa plc has reported record results for the financial year ended 30 September 2016. The integrated resource group’s net profit after tax for the year more than doubled to US$15,8 million, compared to a profit of US$6,0 million a year earlier.
The group owns and operates the Tharisa mine which is located near Marikana on the south-western limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex. The mine has an estimated open-pit life-of-mine of approximately 20 years, and a further estimated underground life of mine of approximately 40 years. Its processing facilities comprise the Genesis plant and the Voyager plant, capable of processing a total of 400 kt/month of ROM ore.
Stackers at the Tharisa mine near Marikana (photo: Tharisa).
Group revenue totalled US$219,7 million, a decrease of 11 % relative to the previous financial year. This was due to a decrease in the commodity prices for both PGMs and chrome concentrates with the basket price for PGMs reducing by 16,8 % per ounce and the metallurgical grade chrome concentrate price (on a CIF main ports China basis) reducing by 24,11 % per tonne over the comparable period. The reduction in revenue was mitigated by the increase in PGM and chrome concentrate volumes sold. PGM revenues at US$81,5 million were almost 2 % lower year-on-year while chrome revenues were 15,6 % lower at US$138,1 million.
Tharisa’s mining operations are characterised by the shallow large scale, open-pit, co-production of PGM and chrome concentrates with a consequential low cost of production. Continuing application of Tharisa’s low-cost business model and achievement of record production enabled the company to boost gross profit by 26,5 % to US$54,5 million for the year. Operating profit climbed by 74,5 % to US$32,1 million.
Commenting on the results, CEO Phoevos Pouroulis said: “Our full-year results demonstrate that the group has come of age. Improving profitability through economies of scale and operational excellence in a depressed commodity market shows that Tharisa’s low-cost model sets the group apart from its peers.
“Clearly benefitting from the innovative co-production of PGM and chrome concentrates, the group was able to leverage its integrated operational platform to capitalise on the production of higher margin specialty chrome products at a time when other commodity prices were depressed.”
Tharisa Minerals reported a Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) of 0,36 per 200 000 man hours worked. In recognition of these achievements, Tharisa Minerals was awarded the Best Safety Performance in Class award at MineSAFE 2016.
Tharisa’s mining operations performed well during the financial year, with 4,8 Mt of reef mined, which is 15,6 % higher than the reef mined in FY2015. The focus remains on grade control to improve the plant feed grades, particularly for chrome.
The processing plants performed particularly well due to the consistent run-of-mine (ROM) production. A total of 4,7 Mt of reef was milled in FY2016, representing a 5,8 % increase year on year. The overall performance across both plants saw a marked improvement in PGM recoveries at 69,9 % for the financial year and improved chrome recoveries of 62,7 % during the year. Tharisa’s recovery targets are 70 % for PGMs and 65 % for chrome.
PGM production was 12,4 % higher at 132,6 koz at and chrome production at 1,2 Mt, was up 10,8 % despite marginally lower feed grades. Specialty chrome concentrate production increased by 138,8 % to 269,4 kt year on year.