JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Titanium and zircon producer Kenmare Resources still expects to meet the mid-range of its 2018 full-year production guidance, despite a 12% year-on-year decrease in heavy minerals concentrate (HMC) output at its Moma mine, in Mozambique, in the first quarter of the year.
During the quarter ended March 31, Kenmare mined 7.8-million tonnes of ore, down 7% compared with the first quarter of 2017. HMC output decreased to 311 000 t, compared with the 353 500 t of HMC produced in the first quarter of 2017.
Kenmare attributed the lower production to a planned 180° turn in the dredge path at wet concentrator plant A, which slowed advancement at the mine face.
Production was further impacted on by lower mining capacity, owing to planned and unplanned stoppages, and lower grades mined.
On the upside, total shipments of finished products were up 4% to 267 200 t, compared with the 256 100 t shipped in the first quarter of 2017.
Kenmare reported steady demand for ilmenite products in the first quarter of this year in all regional markets, despite the seasonal slowdown in the pigment industry over the winter months.
The outlook for the pigment industry is positive for this year as global gross domestic product is expected to grow strongly.
Kenmare stated that the zircon market continued to strengthen, with favourable market conditions in the first quarter owing to a combination of solid demand growth and tight global supply.