PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mineral sands producer Base Resources has reported a slight decline in production for the March quarter, as a month-long mining and wet concentrator plant shutdown was initiated at its Kwale operations, in Kenya.
The shutdown was part of the final equipment installation and piping tie-ins for the Kwale Phase 2 (KP2) mine optimisation project, which will increase the mining rate at Kwale from 1 800 t/h to 2 400 t/h, increasing average full-year rutile production from 68 000 t/y to 93 000 t/y, ilmenite production from 307 000 t/y to 414 000 t/y and zircon production from 25 000 t/y to 34 000 t/y.
Base is investing $32.6-million in the KP2 project, with the company reporting on Wednesday that the project remained on budget.
During the three months to March, Base produced 111 630 t of ilmenite, 21 634 t of rutile and 9 166 t of zircon, which was slightly down from the 119 209 t of ilmenite, 22 798 t of rutile and 9 569 t of zircon produced in the previous quarter.
Despite the lower production, Base reported record zircon sales of 9 884 t during the quarter, with ilmenite sales also up from 119 554 t to 140 665 t, while rutile sales remained constant at 25 526 t, compared with the 25 377 t sold in the previous quarter.
Base has maintained its production outlook for the full year, with rutile production set at between 88 000 t and 94 000 t, ilmenite at between 450 00 t and 480 000 t and zircon production at between 35 000 t and 40 000 t.