Mozambique-focused Kenmare Resources has said 2021 was a record year for the company in terms of production and sales.
Kenmare produces ilmenite, the primary ore of titanium, which is used in the manufacture of a number of consumer goods including paints, fabrics, paper, and cosmetics.
The company’s production guidance was achieved for ilmenite, primary zircon and concentrates last year, according to a trading update from the group.
The record annual heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) production of 1,555,900 tonnes in 2021 represented a 30pc increase compared the prior year, benefitting from increased tonnes mined and higher ore grades.
The company had record annual product volumes; ilmenite production was up 48pc to 1,119,400 tonnes compared to 2020 (756,000 tonnes), benefitting from increased HMC availability.
There were record shipments of finished products of 1,285,300 tonnes last year, a 51pc increase on 2020, which, the company said, reflected increased production and improved shipping capacity.
Kenmare achieved higher average prices for all products in 2021, with this momentum continuing into the first half of 2022 due to strong demand for its products and low ilmenite inventories in the global supply chain, the company said.
“Ilmenite production increased 48pc year-on-year, in line with guidance, while shipments were up 51pc as demand for our products grew strongly,” Michael Carvill, managing director of Kenmare Resources, said.
“In 2021 we received higher average prices for all products compared to 2020 and the outlook for 2022 remains buoyant."
“We were delighted to return almost $100m to shareholders during the year, through dividend payments and a share buy-back, and we continue to target a 25pc profit after tax total dividend payment in respect of 2021.”
Kenmare’s buy-back of 13.5pc of the company’s issued share capital and return of $81.6m to eligible shareholders completed in December, it said.
The company had net debt of $82.8m at the end of 2021, up from $64m at the end of 2020. It had cash and cash equivalents of $69.1m at 31 December 2021, following the completion of the share buy-back.
Looking to this year, the company expects total cash operating costs to increase due to higher tonnes mined and inflation.
It expects its ilmenite production to be in the range of 1,125,000 to 1,225,000 tonnes
Kenmare will release its 2021 preliminary results on March 23.