Tharisa CEO Phoevos Pouroulis. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Tharisa CEO Phoevos Pouroulis. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Tharisa has launched a R950m project to increase its chrome production and lower costs.

Tharisa, a Cyprus-registered company listed in London and Johannesburg, operates a chrome and platinum group metals (PGMs) mine near Brits and has set a production target of 2-million tonnes and 200,000oz of each mineral, respectively, from 2020.

As part of this strategy, Tharisa has unveiled its plans to build the $54m or R950m Vulcan plant, which will use proprietary technology to extract fine chrome particles that normally pass through the processing system and end up on tailings dumps.

“We have developed a proprietary process using existing technologies to improve chrome recoveries with the process having been rigorously tested and proven through pilot plant test work and the operation of a production scale demonstration plant,” said CEO Phoevos Pouroulis.

The Vulcan project will add 400,000 tonnes of chrome to Tharisa a year and lower production costs as fixed expenditure is offset against higher volumes of chrome output.

Tharisa produced 1.4-million tonnes of chrome in concentrate during 2018 and 152,200oz of PGMs.

Vulcan will treat material coming from two existing plants at the mine near Brits in North West province. The company estimates that Vulcan will result in nearly halving chrome tailings as chrome recoveries rise to 82% from 65% once it comes into production at the end of 2020.

The project will be funded off the balance sheet as Tharisa settles a financing scheme.

A company called Wood has been appointed as the engineering, procurement and construction management company.