Kenmare Resources recorded “robust” production at its Moma titanium minerals mine, in northern Mozambique, during the quarter ended March 31, benefitting from an increased contribution from the wet concentrator plant (WCP) B following the upgrade work completed in 2018, Kenmare MD Michael Carvill indicated in a statement on Thursday.
The company achieved a 15% year-on-year increase in heavy mineral concentrate production to 358 700 t; a 13% year-on-year increase in ilmenite production to 238 100 t; a 7% year-on-year increase in primary zircon production to 12 100 t; and an 80% year-on-year increase in concentrates production to 10 100 t, benefitting from the introduction of the mineral sands concentrate product.
The company highlighted that the definitive feasibility study for the WCP B move to Pilivili is progressing well and remains on track for completion before the end of June.
Meanwhile, shipments for the quarter were lower than expected, with total shipments of finished products down 4% year-on-year to 176 500 t. This was attributed to poor sea conditions including as a result of Cyclone Idai, and unplanned maintenance work.
However, Carvill emphasised that the company was confident that full-year sales volumes would not be affected.
Kenmare noted that the zircon market remained stable in the March quarter, with strong long-term fundamentals.
Moreover, there was an improved demand for ilmenite in the quarter, and the market is expected to tighten further during the remainder of the year.
“Titanium feedstock markets strengthened in the first quarter and we expect ilmenite prices to continue to rise in the second quarter, driven by increasing Chinese demand,” Kenmare said.