Infrasors sees more demand-driven growth

By: Loni Prinsloo

Published: 25th May 2010

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) - Base-minerals mining company Infrasors was still suffering from the lingering effects of the economic downturn, reporting a 3% decrease in revenue for the year ended February 28, 2010.

The company reported R211-million revenue for the year, with profit from operating activities also decreasing by 17% to R35-million.

Infrasors CEO Trevor Robinson said that the financial year had been a challenging one for the company, with the demand for base and industrial minerals in the manufacturing sector slumping as a result of the recession with a slow return evident in the last quarter.

However, the company had been steadily investing in new plant and infrastructure at all its existing operations, investing around R34-million for the 2009 financial year, and Robinson said that it was now in a strong position from a capacity perspective to be able to supply the demand for its products once the volume offtake started to increase.

"Infrasors is anticipating further demand-driven growth in 2011 on the back of the improving sales levels being experienced in 2010."

During the year, Infrasor had spent R21-million at its Lyttelton Dolomite Centurion mine on the refurbishment of the primary crusher, the installation of a new aggregate sizing plant and overburden removal. The primary crusher at its Marble Hall mine was also refurbished and further overburden removed.

The Lyttleton Dolomite operations are involved in mining and beneficiating dolomite and limestone metallurgical and construction aggregate, sand and powders for the industrial, coal mining and construction sectors

"Overall, the Lyttleton Dolomite Centurion and Marble Hall mines showed increased production output and rising profitability, as the demand cycles of its products tended to balance each other. As the metallurgical market showed an improvement, demand for construction aggregate levelled off," said Robinson.

Further, Infrascor spent R11-million at its Delf Silica operations on the refurbishment of its older, smaller drier facilities and start-up operations at Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal. A further R2-million was spent on the development of its Pienaarspoort Silica Quartz and Culilinan mining initiatives.

Delf Silica undertakes mining and beneficiation of high-grade silica sand for the foundry industry, tile adhesive market, glass, building, construction and leisure resort sectors.

The company's Delf Silica operation experienced a 36% decline in off take from the foundry sector and a 53% contraction from the golf resort and leisure markets. However, the division was able to penetrate the tile adhesive markets and volume sales from this sector grew 28%.

Robinson anticipated a steady increase in demand for Delf Silica's products for the remainder of the year and said that the new operation at Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal would help to service the regional tile adhesive and foundry markets in the province and increase the company's national footprint.

Meanwhile, Infrasors' Infrabric operation, which manufactured bricks for the residential building and constructor sector, was closed down in November, as a result of weak demand for its products brought about by the recession.

In the medium term, Robinson said that Infrasors was well placed to grow its future revenue and profits.

"Our capital expenditure projects and plant refurbishments have been designed to expand production and reduce unit costs per ton mined and beneficiated, which should facilitate greater throughput each month once the economic recovery takes off," concluded Robinson.