Braemore Resources (JSE:BRE, AIM:BBR) has shifted emphasis from providing junior and upcoming PGM miners with smelting capacity for high-chrome content PGM concentrate to focusing on established platinum producers and junior platinum miners already in production.Chief Executive Officer Leon Coetzer said today the new dynamic in the market meant the company also felt the effect of lower prices and collapsed markets, but it also brought along opportunities for the company as Braemore could offer existing producers lower smelting costs and high recoveries of metals.He said the company was currently working on securing contracts for its 10MW smelter planned near Rustenburg that would come online at the end of 2010. It has committed to announce details of these to the market by March this year.Coetzer said the emphasis shift to established producers and producing juniors accounting for the base of its contracts to cover working capital was necessary in the light of various juniors that have moved out their projects.The company's current 3.2MW smelter at Mintek in Johannesburg that runs with unique ConRoast technology receives concentrate feed from Anglo Platinum and Northam. Coetzer said a company such as Anglo Platinum would typically use the facility to test the technology.Braemore Resources was currently in talks to secure finance for the planned 10MW smelter that will be funded with components of equity, a black economic empowerment deal and bank loan. The CEO said the company was still reasonably positive about securing finance for the smelter and had received positive feedback from the bank. He added the fact that it wasn't a typical exploration or mining project but a smelting plant made the process easier.Braemore's focus is currently on the commercialisation of the larger 10MW oven, while it has accelerated its next phase of moving further downstream with refining capacity. The company plans to still bring refining capacity online this year.The refinery plant will enable the company to no longer produce alloy, but the traditional PGM and base metal products well-known to the market. The products will be marketed separately and is expected to boost revenue. Braemore Resources said recently it was planning a 50% expansion of its 3,2MW ConRoast smelter in Johannesburg that has achieved a recovery rate of 99,52% from high-chrome content PGM concentrate feed since commissioning in September.The ConRoast facility is capable of processing around 2 000 t of concentrate and other smelter feed a month, and producing PGMs in an iron-nickel alloy at a yearly rate of up to 70 000 oz a year, depending on the feed of the grade.
The smelter had been ramping up capacity since October, and in December alone, the smelter produced 4 024 oz of PGMs from high-chrome content feed, averaging 83g/t of PGMs and 3% chrome.