Platinum ore ahead of the concentration process. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Platinum ore ahead of the concentration process. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Chrome and platinum group metals (PGM) miner Tharisa said on Thursday declining production and a drop in chrome prices resulted in operating profit falling by two-thirds in its year to end-September. 

Chrome concentrate prices had fallen 12.9% to $162 a ton, said the company, while a pit redesign undertaken throughout the year had also weighed on production.

Revenue fell 15.6% to $342.9m (R5bn) and operating profit 66.6% to $24.2m.

The group said on Thursday the pit redesign at its flagship Tharisa mine, which is located 95km northwest of Johannesburg, was on track.

The 15-month reconfiguration had already ensured smoother transport routes and more controlled blasting, which would help achieve economies of scale and higher production.

“Challenges remain for mining companies, and these are more pronounced in emerging markets. In SA, the precarious situation facing the state-owned electricity provider, Eskom, not just operationally, but also financially, is having a stunting effect on the revival of the economy,” the company said.

The company had managed to reduce its electricity demand during load-shedding, while also installing standby generator capacity that would allow it to continue operations even during stage four load-shedding.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za