Sunday 25 September 2016

Storms and power outages hamper Kenmare

Published 28/07/2015 | 02:30

Kenmare operates one of the biggest ilmenite mines in the world, called the Moma Mine
Kenmare operates one of the biggest ilmenite mines in the world, called the Moma Mine

Storms and power outages saw production at the Mozambique mine owned by Dublin-based Kenmare Resources slump during the first half of its financial year.

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But the company, headed by managing director Michael Carvill, said that it expects second-half production at the mine to rebound as the power grid is improved.

Kenmare operates one of the biggest ilmenite mines in the world, called the Moma Mine. Ilmenite is the raw material for producing titanium. The company's mine also produces rutile and zircon.

Once worth well over €1bn, Kenmare's market capitalisation has slumped to just €139m as global resource prices fell and it was beset with operational and financial hurdles. China is one of the main markets for titanium feedstocks.

Kenmare has also been circled for months in a possible takeover bid by Australian rival Illuka.

Kenmare said that ilmenite production in the first half of the year fell 27pc to 324,100 tonnes. Zircon production rose 11pc to 23,800 tonnes in the period, however.

The company said that market conditions for titanium feedstocks have remained "broadly unchanged" during the second quarter. "Chinese domestic ilmenite production has declined with reduced iron ore mining economics as a consequence of the lower prevailing ore price," it pointed out.

"This has led to a drawdown of ilmenite inventories in China, further evidenced by a reduction in port inventories," the company added.

"However, this improving market dynamic is yet to result in an improvement in the demand for, or pricing of, imported ilmenite."

Kenmare said that all areas of its mine are now operational following unofficial industrial action in June.

Irish Independent

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