CHROME and platinum group metals (pgm) miner Tharisa has cut its full year production guidance by 10% because of the impact of severe weather conditions on its open pit mining operations from December to February.
Tharisa’s previous guidance was for the production of between 175,000oz and 185,000oz of pgm and 1.75mt to 1.85mt of chrome concentrates in the year to September.
According to CEO Phoevos Pouroulis the financial impact of the cut is being offset by high chrome prices reaching levels up to $300/t and he expects an improved performance from the Tharisa mine in the second half of the financial year.
He noted that, while pgm prices have pulled back recently, “even at these levels we continue to generate healthy margins.”
Turning to the pgm market Pouroulis said pgm prices came under pressure during the March quarter “as demand softened and destocking took some shine off the strong pricing seen in the 2022 financial year.
“Rhodium and palladium prices remain the most affected with rhodium suffering from a small, tight, illiquid market influenced by a single seller. However, the outlook for the pgm basket remains strong as tight supply and strong demand will ensure prices strengthen, with platinum the standout metal as the continued shift into supply deficit becomes evident.”
Pouroulis added the long-term fundamentals for chrome also remained “firmly intact”. He said stockpiles in China remained at historically low levels while demand for the product from South Africa remains “strong” with South African supply being hampered by load shedding and inland logistics challenges.
Tharisa is now developing the Karo pgm mine in Zimbabwe and Pouroulis said the earthworks were proceeding to plan while the civils contracts for the pouring of the foundations for all plants and infrastructure have been awarded.