London-listed Kenmare Resources expects operations at its Pilivili deposit, at the Moma titanium minerals mine, in Mozambique, to be running on grid power before the end of the year, after having been run on diesel-powered generators during its recommissioning.
This while the project’s heavy mineral concentrate pumping system is set to be commissioned in the first quarter of next year.
The company is in the process of ramping up its Wet Concentrator Plant B, after having it relocated to the Pilivili site and starting up production late in October.
Kenmare says production from the plant has been in line with expectations and ore grades have been significantly higher than the grades previously mined at the Namalope deposit.
The plant has been powered with diesel electric generators, with heavy mineral concentrate being trucked from Pilivili to the mineral separation plant.
The company reports that power lines have been installed, while the installation of electrical substations was due to be completed shortly, which should connect the Pilivili operations to the grid later this month.
Meanwhile, Kenmare says it has been encouraging to see spot prices for ilmenite, its primary product, increase strongly in the fourth quarter, after a marginal softening in the third quarter, supported by strong pigment demand and lower ilmenite production in China.
Higher production and lower unit costs, coupled with a robust commodity market, will help to support higher capital returns for Kenmare’s shareholders from 2021.