Tharisa plc (LON:THS) told investors it is “fully committed” to its Vision 2020 strategy although a quarterly production report today has shown a larger than expected dent in output as it works to optimise operations.
The platinum metals firm produced 33,600 ounces of PGMs and 305,400 tonnes of chrome concentrate, representing a 5.9% and 10% reduction, as recovery rates declined due to the processing of tailings.
Tharisa noted that the PGM basket price increased by 5.9% in the quarter to US$983 per ounce.
In the three months ended 31 December, the miner processed the tailings in order to maintain plant throughput amid reduced availability of run-of-mine materials, which was, in turn, a result of reduced availability of mining equipment and ongoing planned maintenance on the mining fleet.
Good progress was reported in regards to the implementation of the maintenance strategy to achieve targeted mining rates, meanwhile, the company noted that additional drilling capacity is being added and a new excavator is being commissioned.
The company anticipates 24-hour continuous mining on the East pit, in order to increase by around 15%.
"Although we had planned for a slower Q1 in terms of mining production, we did not anticipate the full impact that blending tailings material would have on our overall recoveries,” said Phoevos Pouroulis, Tharisa chief executive.
“We will revert back to processing fresh run of mine material from mid- January and will achieve our targeted recoveries.
“We are addressing the operational performance of the mining division with particular reference to equipment availability and utilisation through pro-active maintenance and enhancing the capacity of our drill and blast operations.”
Pouroulis added: “We remain fully committed to our Vision 2020 targets and we are confident that the processes currently underway will see an improved performance in the months to come. "
Production guidance for 2019 has been reset to 150,00 to 160,000 ounces of PGMs and 1.4mln to 1.5mln tonnes of chrome concentrate.