Tharisa flags quantum leap in interim earnings as metal prices give it wings

THARISA, the chrome and platinum group metal (PGM) miner, is set to report a stellar improvement in interim earnings next week owing to improved pricing, especially for PGMs.

The company said in a trading statement today that headline and basic interim earnings would be 21 US cents and 22 US c per share compared to basic earnings of 3.6 US c and 3.7 US c per share for the six months ended 31 March 2020.

The average PGM contained metal basket price for second quarter was $3,290 per ounce – 80% higher year-on-year whilst the chrome price was up a fifth to $155/t, according to Tharisa’s second quarter production report published in April.

This enabled Tharisa to lift its net cash balance to $31.4m from a slim $5m positive balance at the close of the first quarter. It had cash of $73.1m and debt of $41.7m on March 31.

The interim results, due to be published on May 27, may provide more information on Tharisa’s planned expansions in Zimbabwe.

On May 5, the company signalled its intention to embark on geographic diversification after announcing it had exercised an option to take ownership of Salene Chrome, a business situated in Zimbabwe.

“The acquisition provides geographic diversification with access to a premium chrome product, a short development timeline, and a low capital requirement,” the company said at the time. An option to build on Tharisa’s initial foothold was exercised at a cost of $3m.

Tharisa also has options over 90 million oz of PGM resources previously owned by the Impala Platinum-controlled company, Zimplats in Zimbabwe’s Selous PGM-bearing region. This is held through a 26.8% stake in Karo Platinum.