Johannesburg, South Africa — 28 March 2011 – European-headquartered mining and metallurgical group Tharisa Minerals (Pty) Limited has secured a  US$123 million syndicated senior secured debt financing facility for the expansion of its PGM and chrome mine and processing operation on the south-western limb of the Bushveld Complex, some 45km from Rustenburg in South Africa’s North West Province.  

A company statement released here revealed that the loan, together with existing cash flows, would be applied to the expansion of Tharisa’s existing PGM and chrome mine and processing facilities from the existing 1.2Mtpa of run of mine coal production to 4.8Mtpa ROM “’ a quadruple increase.

The project facility, which is available for multiple draw downs, has a maximum seven-year tenor with an interest rate linked to JIBAR. It takes into account the existing operations of Tharisa Minerals and there is no requirement to enter into any commodity or currency hedges.  The first draw down has already taken place.

The statement explains that the mandated lead arrangers and lenders are HSBC (Project Facility Agent and Coordinating Bank), Absa Capital and Nedbank Limited (acting through its Nedbank Capital Division), with each of the lenders participating equally. Tharisa’s financial advisors for the transaction were Fieldstone, and its legal advisors were Webber Wentzel. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr acted as legal advisors to the lenders.   

Trial mining at the Tharisa mine started in October 2008. Following the operation of a pilot scale plant, a 1.2 Mtpa  PGM and chrome concentrator was successfully developed and commissioned during Q4 of 2011, providing for steady-state commercial production of 420 000tpa of metallurgical grade chrome concentrate and 40 000ozpa of PGM concentrate.

Completion of the new concentrator facilities is anticipated by the end of calendar Q3 of 2012, with targeted production by the Tharisa mine of 1.92 Mtpa of metallurgical grade chrome concentrate and 156,000ozpa of PGM concentrate by the end of calendar 2013.

The Tharisa mine’s total contained chrome resources of approximately 800Mt make it  the largest single chrome mineral resource deposit in the world, and the favourable geological and metallurgical characteristics of this deposit support large scale,  long life, open pit mining, with low extraction costs.

Source: Tharisa Minerals (Pty) Limited. For further details click here.