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Miner Tharisa's profits dive 83% as output declines

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – Miner Tharisa Plc <THST.L> reported a nearly 83% plunge in its annual pretax profit on Thursday, as production of platinum group metals and chrome concentrates fell.

The miner last week warned of lower full-year earnings and said it missed its production outlook for the year, with overall platinum group metals production down 8.2% and a reduction of 11% in chrome concentrate output.

“2019 saw curtailed production at the Tharisa mine, as we embedded our owner miner approach at the asset and redesigned the mining operation,” Chief Executive Officer Phoevos Pouroulis said.

Tharisa, which owns and operates a large scale open pit platinum and chrome mine in the North West province of South Africa, said pretax profit fell to $11.2 million for the year ended Sept. 30, from $65.0 million a year earlier.

The company also said it would pay a final dividend of 0.25 cent per share, compared to 5 cents per share it declared in 2018.

The company is also investing in increasing platinum and chrome output at the Tharisa mine, as it bets on continued consumption, despite expectations of reduced auto-sector demand.

The platinum group metals miner is also expanding into Zimbabwe with a drilling programme that could deliver results early next year and develop the company’s exposure to battery minerals.

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)