Tharisa gets approval for low-scale chrome concentrate production

As a key supplier of chemical grade chrome concentrates, the company had asked the South African government for permission to run an interim essential production plan with a significantly reduced number of personnel
Tharisa gets approval for low-scale chrome concentrate production Tharisa gets approval for low-scale chrome concentrate production Tharisa gets approval for low-scale chrome concentrate production Tharisa gets approval for low-scale chrome concentrate production Tharisa gets approval for low-scale chrome concentrate production

Worker at Tharisa's Voyager plant in South Africa

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Tharisa Minerals said the South African government had approved scaled-down production of chrome concentrates at its Voyager plant during the COVID-19 lockdown that was imposed in March.

As a key supplier of chemical grade chrome concentrates, the company had asked for permission to run an interim essential production plan that would see operations continue with a significantly reduced number of personnel. 

Production on the reduced basis has been steady since April 6, with run-of-mine material feeding only into the Voyager plant with a nameplate capacity of 300,000 tonnes per month, and aiming to have the plant operate at an economically optimal rate.

The lockdown is currently forecast to remain in place until April 16.

The company's interim plan allows for the Tharisa mine pit - where it mines chromite and platinum group metals - to be operated at the life-of-mine strip ratio that is envisaged in the mine plan.

"Tharisa will ensure optimal balance between ROM material to feed the Voyager plant and waste removal so as to ensure the pit development is not compromised," it said.

The comments came with scheduled production results for the quarter ended March 2020, which the company said showed a strong performance and which were in line with its 'Vision 2020' targets for the end of the calendar year.

Tharisa reiterated that its guidance for the year would remain suspended until it could quantify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the South African lockdown.

Meanwhile, force majeure has been declared on metallurgical chrome contracts, and the company added that it had received force majeure notifications from its PGM concentrate off-takers.