Exploration firm Kenmare Resources said it expected the final quarter of 2020 to be its strongest for production, as production at a new ore body was set to begin ahead of schedule.
The company, which is a leading producer of titanium minerals and zircon, and operates the Moma titanium mine in northern Mozambique, said mining is expected to commence in the Pilivili ore zone in the coming days after the relocation of a wet concentrator plant in September. That is ahead of its original target of the middle of the quarter.
"Downtime for the move is estimated at less than eight weeks, which is a significant achievement by our team," said Michael Carvill, managing director of Kenmare Resources. "Consequently, Q4 2020 is anticipated to be our strongest quarter of the year for production, with Wet Concentrator Plant B mining high grade ore and taking us an important step closer to our goal of producing 1.2 million tonnes per annum of ilmenite on a sustainable basis."
The group reported heavy mineral concentrate production of 258,000 tonnes in the third quarter of 2020, which ended on September 30th. This was a 15 per cent decline year on year as the company temporarily ceased production on one of its wet concentrator plants to move it to the new site.
Ilmenite production was 167,900 tonnes, a 27 per cent decrease compared to 2019, and primary zircon production was 16 per cent lower at 10,900 tonnes.
Total shipments of finished products reached 118,000 tonnes, a 39 per cent decrease year on year. This was attributed to improvement works on a transhipment vessel and continuing poor sea conditions. However, the fourth quarter of the year has begun well, the company said, and is expected to be the strongest of the year.
Mr Carvill said it was encouraging to see see pigment markets bouncing back more quickly than expected from Covid-19-related restrictions. “Consequently we believe the outlook for the ilmenite market is robust in Q4 and continuing into 2021.”