Tharisa recorded a 7% increase in chrome concentrate production
Tharisa Plc released its fourth quarter and full year production report for the period ended 30 September 2017.
Highlights for the three months ended 30 September 2017
- Record reef mined of 1.3 Mt, up 2.0% quarter on quarter
- Record tonnes milled of 1.3 Mt, up 8.4% quarter on quarter
- Record chrome concentrate production of 360.5 kt, up 8.0% quarter on quarter
- PGM production of 39.0 koz, up 10.2% quarter on quarter
- PGM recoveries at 81.0% exceeding targeted recoveries of 80.0%
Highlights for the financial year ended 30 September 2017
- Reef mined of 5.0 Mt, up 3.9%
- Reef milled of 4.9 Mt, up 5.6%
- PGM production of 143.6 koz, up 8.3%
- Record chrome concentrate production of 1.3 Mt, up 7.0%
- Specialty grade chrome production of 323.1 kt, up 19.9%
Safety remains a priority and Tharisa continues to strive for zero harm at its operations. There were no lost time injuries during the quarter and consequently we recorded an improved LTIFR of 0.07 per 200 000 man hours worked. Tharisa Minerals was awarded three safety awards in 2017: the Best Safety Performance and Best Improved Performance awards at Mine Safe 2017, and an award from the Mine Health and Safety Council for 2 000 fatality free production shifts.
Tharisa’s reef mining operations achieved a new record in Q4 FY2017 with 1.3 Mt of reef mined. Notably the Cr2O3 run of mine grade improved to 18.4% with the continuous focus on improvement in the drill, blast and reefing operations.
Total waste of approximately 2.5 Mm3 was moved during the quarter at a stripping ratio of 6.6 on a m3:m3 basis. The waste stripping remained below the LOM average of 9.7 and this will be a focus area going forward to ensure that sufficient reef is available in the optimal blend for the processing plants. Key to achieving the required waste stripping is the drill and blast operations and Tharisa has insourced its drilling operations and purchased additional drill rigs to achieve the required stripping ratio.
With throughput into the plant exceeding nameplate capacity, the stockpiles ahead of the processing plants total 307.7 kt, with a target of 400.0 kt to ensure optimal reef layer blending, feed grade and throughput consistency into the plants.
Tharisa mined 5.0 Mt of ROM in FY2017, which is 3.9% higher than in FY2016 and in excess of the plant processing nameplate capacity of 4.8 Mt. The PGM rougher feed grade, however, reduce from 1.65 g/t to 1.56 g/t as more weathered ore was included in the ROM following the road diversion and mining of that area to expand the mining footprint. The Cr2O3 ROM grade was effectively the same as the prior year.
The transition to an owner mining model, which included the transfer and employment of approximately 900 mining contractor’s employees, was effective as of 1 October 2017. In addition to the purchase of the contractor’s mining fleet, Tharisa Minerals supplemented the fleet with additional drill rigs, excavators and mining equipment. Please refer to Tharisa’s announcement dated 22 September 2017 for more details on the transaction.
Commenting on the production results, Tharisa CEO Phoevos Pouroulis, said, “Through our continued focus on mining and processing improvements and optimisation we have delivered an excellent operational performance for FY2017. We see more potential in the year ahead and will be embarking on unlocking greater value through the successful transition to owner mining, primarily focusing on reducing dilution and improving feed grades from within the open-pit. Furthermore, our organic optimisation projects should yield additional recoveries, lowering our unit costs and enhancing our production going forward. We are excited by opportunities within the mining sector and look to grow our business through strategic investments and co-operation agreements leveraging off our existing infrastructure.”