Developing and optimising the Group's beneficiation capabilities.
Arxo Metals owns the Challenger Plant, which is integrated into Tharisa Minerals’ Genesis Plant. The Challenger Plant is dedicated to the production of specialty grade chrome concentrates, namely chemical and foundry grade concentrates.
Specialty grade concentrates carry more stringent specifications and therefore fetch a higher value. 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.
Arxo Metals continues to evaluate low-capital, low-energy, value adding beneficiation projects through in-house research and in association with international companies.