London-listed Kenmare Resources, which operates the Moma titanium minerals mine, in northern Mozambique, saw strong market conditions for all of its products continue during the quarter ended March 31, supported by low inventories in the global supply chain, MD Michael Carvill says in a production report for the period.
Realised ilmenite prices increased for a sixth consecutive quarter and this positive momentum is continuing into the next quarter.
“The board of directors visited the Moma mine and the surrounding area in February. A highlight of the visit was inspection of the Rotary Uninterruptible Power Supply (Rups) project, which is currently commissioning.
“The Rups is designed to materially improve power stability for the mineral separation plant, reduce operating costs through lower diesel use, and drive our short-term target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 12% by 2024,” Carvill says.
While production in the period was lower than expected, impacted by poor weather conditions, the weather at the mine typically improves after the first quarter and Kenmare maintains production guidance for the year.
Kenmare recorded zero lost-time injuries since January 6, 2021.
In the period, heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) production increased by 6% in to 384 700 t, benefitting from a 5% increase in excavated ore tonnes, partially offset by a 3% decrease in ore grades.
Ilmenite production decreased by 7% to 256 800 t, and primary zircon production decreased by 3% to 12 900 t owing primarily to a 5% decrease in HMC processed.
Rutile production increased by 5% to 2 000 t, benefitting from higher recoveries, while concentrates production increased by 20% to 10 700 t owing to the processing of stockpiled spillage material.
Total shipments of finished products decreased by 33% to 231 500 t, impacted by poor weather conditions and customer-chartered vessel delays owing to tight shipping markets.
As mentioned, the markets for all of Kenmare’s products remain strong, with further price increases received for the sixth consecutive quarter.