Processed Silica Sand

Infrasors lifts FY earnings, embarks on R81m capex programme

By: Christy van der Merwe
Published: 8th May 2008

Gauteng-based industrial materials and mining group Infrasors on Thursday reported that headline earnings a share had more than doubled, as it increased production and sales.Headline earnings a share jumped 111% to 44,6c a share in the year ended February 29, compared with the pro forma Heps for the previous period.

The company, which recently listed on the AltX, realised a 51% increase in revenue to R237-million, which Infrasors attributed to increased production and sales in all business divisions, and containment of operating costs.

The company spent some R20-million on capital expenditure (capex) in the 2008 financial year, investing in plant and infrastructure to meet demand, and this figure would more than triple in the next financial year.

Infrasors has embarked on an R81-million capex programme, which it said was on track, and would largely be spent on the group's Pienaarspoort high-grade silica quartz and construction aggregate operation.

About R55-million would be spent at Pienaarspoort, in Gauteng, for the establishment of the open-pit operation and associated beneficiation plant. The drilling programme was completed and the resource was estimated at 60-million tons, with a 50-year life-of-mine.

"Being such an abrasive and hard material, silica quartz, you definitely need to make sure that you put in the right type of crushers and screening and milling plants for this type of material. And therefore there is substantial cost, but ... you can see that the payback on the capex for Pienaarspoort is less than two years," Infrasors CEO Le Roux Roets told Mining Weekly Online.

The planned yearly production at Pienaarspoort is 1,2-million tons of silica quartz, and the operation will supply a range of products for the glass and foundry industries. Commissioning is expected to take place in December 2008.

Infrasors' already established operations continued to grow, and Lyttelton Dolomite increased production by 11% over the year, and contributed R116.5-million to the group's revenue. The group's Delft Sand operation increased silica production by 25% and contributed some R87-million to overall revenue.

The Infrabric division acquired assets and commissioned operations in the year under review, and the current average daily rate of production was 360 000 bricks, which was in line with expectations, and a further scale-up in production was anticipated. Infrabric contributed about R24-million to group revenue in the year.

The company declared its maiden dividend of 12c/share.