Mineral sands producer Iluka reports syn- thetic rutile production decreased to 78 500 t during the March quarter, compared with the 87 300 t produced in the previous corresponding period.
Synthetic rutile production was drawn mainly from Iluka’s largest synthetic rutile kilns, in Western Australia. The other operating kiln, in the Midwest, underwent a maintenance outage in January and early February, and has now returned to operation.
Iluka says it intended to run this kiln to about midyear, mainly for research and development purposes, including ilmenite blending trials to evaluate feed sources for potential synthetic rutile production.
Despite production volumes for its mineral sands projects remaining stagnant, the company experienced a 51% increase in revenue for the three months to March.
Mineral sands sales revenue increased to $226,3-million from $149,4-million in the corresponding period of 2010, states the ASX-listed miner.
Further, zircon production for the three months increased to 135 500 t, from 123 500 t in the previous corresponding period, while rutile production during the same period reached 63 000 t, on par with the 63 800 t produced during the March quarter in 2010.
Iluka told shareholders that Australian zircon and rutile production for the March quarter met or exceeded internal expectations, associated with the favourable assemblages and above-budget mineral separation plant recoveries and throughputs at the Jacinth-Ambrosia and Murray Basin operations, in South Australia and Victoria respectively.
Iluka expects to produce 500 000 t of zircon during 2011, and 250 000 t of rutile. Full-year synthetic rutile production was expected to reach 220 000 t.