Tharisa eyes growth in the face of depressed chrome market

Dec 15, 2011 | 07:47 AM |

South African chrome miner Tharisa entered the chrome market in 2007, just before the tumult caused by the financial crisis of 2008, but the company is growing rapidly, seemingly oblivious of the depressed market conditions. “We have been busy,” Tharisa ceo Phoevos Pouroulis tells Metal Bulletin. Tharisa, essentially a family business with Pouroulis’ father Lucas in the chairman’s seat, is five years old, but is 40% through building its third concentrate plant and has established its own in-house trading company. It plans to build a ferro-chrome smelter in China and a platinum smelter at its mine in the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. “It is very exciting. We have a lot of projects on the go at the same time,” says Pouroulis, a Boston University graduate and one-time director at Chromex. The new concentrate plant will boost chrome concentrate capacity by 1.3 million tpy and add another 120,000 oz per year of PGM concentrate. The run-of-mine capacity will increase by 3.6 million tpy. The existing plant produces 420,000 tpy chrome concentrate and 40,000 oz per year of PGM concentrate. Its run-of-mine capacity is 1.2. million tpy. “Fantastic deposit” The plants are fed by the company’s mine at Marikana, south-east of Rustenburg, South Africa. “We have a fantastic deposit. Our open-pit mine runs in a 5km line, which allows us to mine five seams at the same time to a depth of 180 metres. We can mine from above ground for 17 years,” Pouroulis says. The underground resource is also “huge” at....

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