Two announcements from Braemore Resources (AIM: BRR / JSE BRE) this morning produced mixed results in the market.
The first, an operational report, reinforced the current status of the Conroast smelting/refining package. With the conclusion of the research into the Platinum Group Metal (PGM) refining process, which complements the Conroast smelting technology, all R&D objectives have now been met, and Braemore is ready to go into full commercialisation of the technology.
Discussions are ongoing with various parties for the provision of development capital for a next-stage Conroast facility with refining capability as well as short term working capital needs for Braemore itself.
These working capital needs have been aggravated by a strong rand, which has increased the company's costs in dollar terms by 12.5% versus unchanged dollar-denominated metals prices. To offset this, Braemore is about to restructure its 3.2MW smelting facility at Randburg, partly to significantly reduce operating costs, and partly to bring process units into better alignment for the forthcoming addition of a refining capability. Once the refining process has been implemented, margins will increase sufficiently to ensure strong commercial viability even at times of a strong Rand and low metal prices.
The company is also in talks with a number of existing and near-term PGM producers to form JVs which will secure feed material for a fully commercial smelting and refining facility.
The first of these ventures - with Jubilee Platinum (AIM: JLP / JSE: JBL) - was also announced, just a few minutes later. Braemore and Jubilee have entered binding heads of agreement involving the provision by Braemore of smelting and refining facilities to Jubilee for the processing of PGE (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) concentrates recovered from tailings over which Jubilee has recovery rights. The use of Conroast smelting/refining is anticipated to add significantly more value to Jubilee's PGE concentrate than conventional means, whilst providing sufficient critical mass by combining upstream and downstream activities to make the project commercially viable.
Leon Coetzer, CEO of Braemore, said: This is a new dawn in Braemore's evolution. We are no longer a technology or development company, the acceleration of ConRoast's commercialisation is now well underway.
Colin Bird, CEO of Jubilee, commented: This agreement is a key step in ensuring we maximise returns across the mining process for Jubilee shareholders and we see the Jubilee-Braemore alliance as an important step for our short term production mission.