Saturday 20 January 2018

Kenmare boosted by higher mineral prices

Kenmare boss Michael Carvill
Kenmare boss Michael Carvill
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Improving prices for ilmenite have provided a boost for Irish firm Kenmare Resources, after it notched up record shipments from its Mozambique mine during the second quarter.

The company, which has undergone a major financial restructuring in recent months, said its total shipments from its Moma mine rose 133pc in the second quarter, to 309,000 tonnes.

It's benefiting from improved pricing from its core ilmenite production, particularly due to supply declines from China.

Kenmare completed a financial restructuring in June, when it raised $275m from investors. The Oman State General Reserve Fund committed $100m to the company, while new and existing institutional investors, committed a total of almost $146m. Further finance was raised from small shareholders, enabling Kenmare to cut its debt to $100m from $370m.

"The strengthening of the balance sheet, allied with falling cash costs and consistent productivity gains at Moma, positions Kenmare to benefit from the improvement in the titanium feedstock market we are currently experiencing as higher ilmenite prices are reflected in revenues for the second half of 2016," said managing director Michael Carvill yesterday.

Ilmenite production from the Moma mine during the second quarter was 217,900 tonnes, 18pc higher compared to the first quarter of 2016. Total zircon production for the period increased 46pc over the first quarter to 16,900 tonnes.

Ilmenite is used to produce titanium oxide, which is in turn used in the manufacture of products such as paints and paper, and in the defence industry. It also has applications in household products such as toothpaste.

Kenmare said ilmenite supply reductions have also been seen in Russia and Australia, due to mine closure and depletion.

The company added that it's on track to meet production targets for 2016.

Irish Independent

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