Tharisa Minerals holds a Mining Right over 5 475 ha of land near the town of Rustenburg in the North West province of South Africa. The Mining Right was granted on 19 September 2008 for an initial period of 30 years, providing access to MG Chromitite Layers which outcrop with a strike length of approximately 5 km.
The Tharisa Mine is a 14-year open pit operation with a projected 40-year underground life of mine extension. The mining operation, which is divided into the east pit and west pit, extracts reef from five MG Chromitite Layers.
The change in operating model from contractor to owner-operator mining was implemented in FY2018. This change represented a logical progression given the long life of the open pit, allowing Tharisa Minerals to take direct control of its mining operations, thereby controlling the reef grades and the delivery of improved quality ore to the processing plants and optimising the feed, throughout and within the plants. FY2019 saw Tharisa Minerals invest heavily in new equipment and machinery including a new Caterpillar 6050 face shovel.
Tharisa Minerals’ mining division mined 4.6 Mt of ROM for FY2019, a 5.1% decrease year on year. A total of 11.1 Mm3 of waste rock was mined for the year, as the stripping ratio improved to 8.3 on a m3 :m3 basis, representing a 5.1% increase from the previous year. Mining for the year needs to be viewed in the context of Tharisa focusing on the development areas in its open pit; a redesign that saw over 1.7 Mm3 of previously mined material moved, with the aim of creating smoother benches and thus better drilling, blasting and hauling continuity. Hauling continuity was enhanced by access roads that previously ran north-south now running parallel to the pit as the pit advances. Capital investment into machinery increased to US$27.5 million as fleet replacement accelerated.