PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mineral sands miner Iluka Resources has reported a 22% increase in revenue for the full year ended December, with the company swinging back into the black with a net profit after tax of A$304-million.
Revenues for the 12 months under review increased to $1.2-billion, with underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation up by 66% on the previous financial year, to A$600-million.
Iluka’s net profit after tax for 2018 reached A$304-million, compared with a net loss of A$172-million in 2017, on the back of a A$264-million impairment and rehabilitation charge.
“The strong financial results we have reported today are a reflection of mineral sands market conditions, which have helped us to achieve sustainable price increases and solid sales volumes, a strong operational performance in Australia and of our disciplined approach to markets and capital allocation,” said Iluka MD Tom O’Leary.
Zircon production in the full year was up by 12%, to 349 000 t, while synthetic rutile production reached a record 220 000 t. Rutile production in the full year was down 46% compared with 2017, to 163 000 t, reflecting the cessation of processing at Murray basin and a disappointing production performance and strike action interruption at the Sierra Rutile project, in Sierra Leone.
“The strong cash flow generated has allowed us to return to a net cash position, at the same time as beginning to deliver on a significant pipeline of projects, including Cataby, which has entered the commissioning phase on time and budget.
“Further, the company’s performance in 2018 has enabled Iluka to deliver a final dividend to shareholders of 19c a share, fully franked. Full-year dividends of 29c a share represent 40% of 2018 free cash flow, in line with Iluka’s dividend framework,” said O’Leary.
Meanwhile, Iluka on Thursday flagged a possible $60-million investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) into the Sierra Rutile operation, in exchange for an equity stake of up to 10% in the project.
The IFC on Thursday started a 60-day disclosure period relating to the potential investment, which will be split into two stages.
The first potential investment will be made to support efficiency improvements at the existing operation, while the second part of the investment, comprising the majority of the funding, would be subject to the start of early works for the development of the Sembehun deposit, some 20 km to 30 km northwest of the existing operations.