Karo Platinum studies complete

October 21, 2021

 

TINASHE MAKICHI

 

London Stock Exchange-listed Tharisa has completed the implementation studies at its Ngezi-based Karo Platinum project, Business Times can report.

Three years ago, Tharisa acquired a 26.8% shareholding in Karo Mining Holdings Ltd (Karo Holdings) for a total cash consideration of US$4.5m from the Leto Settlement.

It then entered into an investment agreement with the Republic of Zimbabwe to establish a platinum group metals (PGMs) mine, concentrators, smelters, a base metal and precious metals refinery, as well as power generation plant in the southern African country.

The acquisition provided Tharisa access to an area covering 23 903 ha on the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe, containing an estimated PGM resource of some 96 million ounces (on a 4E basis).

“Karo Platinum implementation studies have been completed,” Tharisa said.

The mining resources group has also commenced the metallurgical plant construction at its 100% owned Zimbabwean unit, Salene chrome Zimbabwe and is on track to commence chrome production in 2022.

Tharisa, the leading integrated platinum and chrome producer with operations in South Africa acquired Salene Chrome Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited for US$3m in March this year from Leto Settlement.

Salene Chrome Zimbabwe is a development stage, low cost, open pit asset, located in the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe and the acquisition provided geographic diversification with access to a premium chrome product, a short development timeline and a low capital requirement.

“Salene Chrome is on track to commence production in Q1 FY2022 and has commenced the metallurgical plant construction,” Tharisa Plc said.

The transaction was in line with Tharisa’s growth strategy, including geographic diversification, operating low cost and open pit operations with access to a premium chrome product, replicating the Tharisa model in different jurisdictions.

It also maximises value for Tharisa with a low entry cost, a short development timeline and limited capital requirements while exercising full control over the development.

The Great Dyke of Zimbabwe contains the world’s largest known platinum group metals and high grade chrome deposits outside of South Africa.

Salene Chrome was awarded a number of special grants in May 2018 on the eastern side of the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe, allowing for the mining of various minerals.

It subsequently had applied for and was granted a number of licenses to the western side of the Great Dyke.

Salene Chrome East covers 11 900 ha adjacent to the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe and Salene Chrome West covers 12 400 ha to the west of the Great Dyke.

The Special Grants have been renewed for an additional two years with effect from 25 February 2021.

On the chrome mining update, chrome prices improved in the last quarter with an increase of over 4% compared to the June 2021 quarter, and also saw an increase of 10% on an annual basis, with spot trading at US$165/t.

“Prices will need to remain at these levels for most producers to remain profitable and continue to invest, as shipping rates have dented margins, with the global logistic industries continuing to be impacted by the pandemic and challenges with supply chain management,” Tharisa Plc said.

Despite some output cuts at stainless steel plants in China, output is nevertheless expected to increase close to double digit percentage growth compared to 2020 as both domestic demand and export demand drives higher output levels in China.

South African inland logistics issues have led to longer supply chains and thus increased pricing for products, while stockpiles of chrome at port level in China remain constant.

 

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