Big Picture – A Deep Dive Examination of the Tharisa plc
Tharisa plc Snapshot
To maximise shareholder return through innovation exploitation of mineral resources in a responsible manner
- The safety and health of our people is a priority
- We take responsibility for the effect that our operations may have on the environment
- We are committed to the upliftment of our local communities
- We conduct ourselves with integrity and honesty
- We strive to achieve superior returns for our shareho
- We originate new opportunities and will continue to challenge convention through innovation
Tharisa’s strategy is to generate value by becoming a globally significant low cost producer of strategic commodities.
The Group aims to service growing global demand for its products through integrated mining, processing, marketing, sales and logistics operations.
Its expansion strategy focuses on growth through value accretive acquisitions, development and operation of large-scale, low cost projects that are in or close to production.
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Uniquely positioned as a PGM and chrome co-producer with integrated logistics and trading
Headquartered in Europe with listings on the Johannesbirg and London stock exchanges, Tharisa is an integrated resource group whose activities incorporate mining, processing, beneficiation, marketing, sales and logistics. Its core asset, Tharisa Minerals is a low cost producer of PGM and chrome concentrates.
Tharisa Minerals owns and operates the Tharisa Mine, which is located on the south-western limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex. The Tharisa Mine has an estimated open pit life-of-mine of approximately 17 years, and a further estimated underground life of mine of approximately 40 years. The Tharisa Mine’s processing facilities comprise the Genesis Plant and the Voyager Plant, both PGM and chrome concentrators are capable of processing a total of 400 ktpm of ROM ore.
Through its subsidiary Arxo Metals, the Group is developing its beneficiation capabilities to optimise its operations and capture a greater share of the value chain. Tharisa’s research and development activities are also undertaken in Arxo Metals.
The Group’s business includes logistic operations through Arxo Logistics and the sales of the Group’s chrome products through Arxo Resources, which acts as agent and off-taker for Tharisa Minerals for the onward sale of chrome concentrate to customers in China and other international markets.
Low-cost producer of both PGM and chrome concentrate
Tharisa Mine is a shallow and large-scale open pit PGM and chrome mine that has has been in production since November 2009.
Significant resource of 867.5 million tonnes located in the Bushveld Complex
The Tharisa Mine is located on the south-western limb of the Bushveld Complex, approximately 95 kilometres north-west of Johannesburg and 35 kilometres east of Rustenburg, and is supported by well-developed infrastructure.
According to Coffey Mining, the Bushveld Complex contains 56% of the world’s known PGM resources and over 68% of the world’s total economically viable chromite reserves. The mining rights held in respect of the Tharisa Mine cover an area of approximately 5,475 hectares on the farms 342 JQ and Rooikoppies 297 JQ in the Marikana district. The Tharisa Mine has a deposit with an outcrop strike length of approximately five kilometres across the 342 JQ farm.
The Tharisa Mine is underlain by four principal mineral-rich layers, known as the Middle Group Chromitite layers. From the outcrop the layers dip to the north across the remainder of 342 JQ and into Rooikoppies at an angle of approximately 12 to 15 degrees to a depth of over 1,000 metres.
Tapping one the world's largest PGM and chrome deposits
Based on a maximum 200 m highwall, the life of pit and a 400 ktpm production profile, it is expected that open pit mining operations will continue until 2034 before a transition to underground mining. The open pit design and schedule has been completed and a mining method selection study was undertaken to evaluate various methods for the future underground mining operations. The bord-and-pillar method was selected on the basis of its faster development, greater flexibility, enhanced safety and efficiency. Underground mining operations are planned to increase in line with the reduction in open pit production and to take place to depths of up to 750 m.
In April 2017, Tharisa announced its plans to transition from contractor to an owner mining model. Tharisa acquired the mining fleet and transfered employees from the existing mining contractor in October 2017.
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Two independent processing plants designed specifically to treat the MG Chromitite
Tharisa Minerals' two independent processing plants have been specifically designed to treat the MG Chromitite layers of the Bushveld Complex and have a combined capacity of 400 ktpm. The smaller 1.2 Mtpa Genesis Plant came on stream first, with the 100 ktpm chrome circuit being commissioned in August 2011 and the PGM circuit being commissioned in December 2011 and the larger 3.6 Mtpa Voyager Plant was commissioned in December 2012. The plants have a similar process flow that includes crushing and grinding, primary removal of chrome concentrate from spirals, followed by PGM flotation from the chrome tails and a second spiral recovery of chrome from the PGM tails.
Operating in parallel, the independent plants provide processing flexibility and production stability by allowing one plant to be shut down without hampering the production of the other.
The Group produced PGM concentrates containing 143.6 koz of contained PGMs (5PGE +Au) and chrome concentrates of 1.3 Mt in FY2017. Of the chrome concentrates produced, 323.1 kt was specialty grade concentrates. Production is expected to increase to 150 koz and 1.4 Mt in FY2018.
Developing and optimising the Group's beneficiation capabilities
Arxo Metals owns and operates the Challenger Plant, which produces high value foundry and chemical grade chrome concentrates. These higher-grade chrome products have more stringent specifications and greater market value than metallurgical grade concentrate. This has not only creates additional value, but has increased the range of chrome products offered by the Group. The Challenger Plant is integrated into the Genesis Plant.
Arxo Metals has an off-take agreement with Rand York Minerals, which markets and sells the concentrates to customers in the chemical and foundry industries globally. Arxo Metals produced 65.7 kt of chemical grade chrome concentrate and 23.1 kt of foundry grade chrome concentrate in FY2017.
In August 2017, Arxo Metals entered into an agreement with Western Platinum, a subsidiary of Lonmin, on the operations of its K3 UG2 chrome plant and for the sales and marketing of the UG2 chrome concentrate produced. Arxo Metals will unlock greater value for Lonmin from the K3 UG2 chrome plant using innovative technology already in use at Tharisa’s operations. Adding approximately 200.0 kt to the Group chrome sales annually, the agency agreement expands the basket of chrome concentrates sold by the Group and leverages off its established logistics and marketing platform.
Arxo Metals is also the beneficiation, research and development arm of the Group. Arxo Metals conducts extensive research into technologies and downstream beneficiation opportunities that have the potential to improve yields and recoveries at the Tharisa Mine. The creation of increased value PGM and chrome products through the expansion and optimisation of the Group’s processing operations is its core focus.
During FY2017, Arxo Metals commissioned a 1 MW DC furnace to produce PGM-rich alloys on a pilot scale. This alloy will be smelted by Lonmin as part of a PGM research and development cooperation agreement. The production of PGM-rich alloys will further develop Tharisa’s beneficiation capability and thereby the profitability of Tharisa’s PGM segment.
Direct relationships with the Group's customers
Arxo Resources, a wholly-owned subsidiary, has the exclusive right to sell metallurgical grade chrome concentrate, produced by Tharisa Minerals, to customers in China and other international markets. Arxo Resources has established a strong presence among customers in China. These customers include stainless steel and ferrochrome producers and global commodity traders. The scale of operations allows for direct access to market and price discovery while opening up channels with customers and creating a platform from which to generate future revenue through the sales of third-party products.
Efficient in-house distribution of products to end customers
Arxo Logistics, a wholly-owned subsidiary, manages the transportation of chrome concentrates produced by the Group to international customers via the Richards Bay Dry Bulk Terminal and the Durban Port, and to South African customers by road and rail. Chrome concentrate is shipped to customers in China and other international markets through bulk and container vessels from Richards Bay and Durban. Tharisa is a registered agent at the Richards Bay Dry Bulk Terminal.
Arxo Logistics shipped a total of 995.8 kt of chrome concentrate in FY2017 mostly to main ports in China. Of this, 98% was shipped in bulk with bulk shipments being preferred by customers due to ease of handling and reduced port charges, as well as reduced levels of administration.
Arxo Logistics provided third party logistics services din FY2017 and it is planning to expand this service offering in future.
Tharisa Minerals (74% owned) produces PGM concentrate and metallurgical grade and chemical grade chrome concentrates from a shallow open pit mine near Rustenburg, in the North West province of South Africa. The Genesis and Voyager Plants have a combined design capacity of 400 ktpm run of mine ore per month.
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The ore from the Tharisa Mine produces a PGM basket containing platinum, palladium and rhodium of favourable grades. As a result,the Group is ideally positioned to take advantage of the positive projected growth in the demand for PGMs.
PGMs or platinum group metals are a group of metals that include platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, ruthenium and osmium. These metals have similar physical and chemical properties and tend to occur together in the same mineral deposit. The usefulness of PGMs is determined by their particular chemical and physical properties. Certain of these properties are shared by other metals, but it is the unique combination of properties that defines the PGMs in their end markets. They have high catalytic activity, high thermal resistance, are chemically inert, biocompatible and are hard but malleable for forming into shapes. Platinum, palladium and rhodium are used in high volumes applications, while iridium and ruthenium have niche high technology applications.
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Chrome products are produced from chromite containing ores, such as the Middle Group Chromitite layers of the Bushveld Complex. The key drivers for the production of chrome are the ferrochrome and stainless steel industries. Some 85% of all chrome produced is converted into ferrochrome by a smelting process. Ferrochrome is a raw material used in the manufacturing of stainless steel. Chrome is also used in the chemical and foundry industry, this is houses small in comparison to the stainless steel industry.
CRU estimates that 75% of global chrome resources are in South Africa and accordingly South Africa is the largest chrome concentrate producer. South Africa, Turkey, Kazakhstan and India are also chrome producing countries and together these four countires account for over 70% of global production. Chrome ore production is expected to have a long-term stable demand, as a result of the demand for stainless steel.
Loucas Pouroulis - Chairman
Mining and Metallurgical Engineering (Hons), (National Technical University, Athens, Greece)
Loucas Pouroulis is the Executive Chairman of the Group, with responsibility for the development of strategy and the identification of new opportunities for the Group. He began his career in Cyprus in 1962, and his initial post graduate training took place in Germany, Sweden and Cyprus. Loucas is trained as a mining and metallurgical engineer and has 50 years' experience in mining exploration, project management, financing and production in open pit and underground mining operations, including PGM and gold mines. He immigrated to South Africa in 1964 and joined Anglo American, where he rose rapidly through the management ranks and received extensive training and experience. In 1971, Loucas began to pursue his own mining interests, initially focusing on gold mining opportunities considered uneconomical by the majors. By the 1990s, he had established Petra Diamonds and, since 2000, has established Eland Platinum, Tharisa Minerals, Kameni, Keaton Energy and TransAfrika Resources.
Phoevos Pouroulils - Chief Executive Officer
Bachelor of Science and Business Administration, (Boston University, USA)
Phoevos Pouroulis is the Chief Executive Officer of the Group, with responsibility for overall strategy and management. Phoevos has held various senior managerial and operational positions in his career spanning more than 15 years. He has extensive experience in project management, mining design, commissioning and mining operations, including chrome and PGM mines, having been involved in South Africa's mining industry since 2003. He has served as Commercial Director for Chromex Mining plc and was a founding member of Keaton Energy. Phoevos is currently the President of the International Chrome Development Association.
Michael Jones - Chief Finance Officer
Bachelor of Accounting, (University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), CA(SA); Member, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants
Michael Jones is the Chief Finance Officer of the Group and is responsible for the overall financial operation and the financial reporting management of the Group. Michael has more than seven years senior financial management experience in the mining exploration and development sphere. In addition, he has 18 years experience in investment banking, focusing on mergers and acquisitions and capital raisings of both equity and debt.
Michelle Taylor - Chief Operating Officer
ACIS Associate of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and Administrators
Michelle Taylor is the Chief Operating Officer of the Group and Managing Director of Tharisa Minerals. She joined the Group in January 2008 and is responsible for oversight of the day-to-day operations of the Group. Michelle has been involved with the Pouroulis family’s businesses for over nine years and is familiar with their operating and reporting procedures and management structure. Prior to working in the Group, Michelle was a partner and head of corporate governance at Routledge Modise Inc. (later Eversheds South Africa) from 1999 to 2008, and advised a number of listed companies including Eland Platinum Holdings Limited, Barplats Investments Limited, Keaton Energy Holdings Limited and Dimension Data Holdings Limited.
Office 108 - 110
S. Pittokopides Business Centre
17 Neophytou Nicolaides and Kilkis street
Telephone: +357 26 257052
The Crossing 2nd Floor
372 Main Road
Telephone: +27 11 996 3500
Telephone: +27 11 996 3500
Email: [email protected]