NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – The price of ilmenite mineral has gone up by over 130 percent between May 2016 and March 2017, resulting in Base Titanium adjusting their projections upwards by 200 percent in the coming quarter.
This has been credited to political disruption of ilmenite products in India and suppressed ilmenite production in China’s main ilmenite producing region due to increased environmental inspections that have continued through the March quarter.
The company’s External Affairs Manager Simon Wall also says that there has been a continued improvement in ilmenite’s markets in the last quarter.
The company has sold 122,783 tonnes of ilmenite in the quarter ended March, up from 97,047 tonnes sold the previous quarter.
There was also a positive outlook for rutile and zircon in the quarter by the company, despite a flattening of production and sales of the two minerals.
Broken down, there was a marginal increase in the production of rutile from 22,870 tonnes to 23, 107 tonnes. Sales were up to 21,416 tonnes from 19,773 tonnes. Zircon’s production was down to 8,212 from 8,591, while isales dropped to 8,069 tonnes from 9,432.
“Our continued strong performance has reduced net debt by a further US$7.0 million in the quarter,” Wall said.
In essence, the net debt reduction in the quarter was lower than the previous year – US18.1 million net debt reductions – due to timing of bulk rutile shipment, and particular customer payment terms. According to the company, this impacted cash receipts and therefore total net reduction.
Going forward, the company is targeting to increase the production of its three minerals this year.
“These assumptions are based on, among others, mining of 10.6 million tonnes at an average heavy mineral grade of 7.12 percent all from ore reserves, “says the report.
Others include having a mineral separation plant feed rate at an average of 91 tonnes per hour, consistent with recent performance and mineral separation plant product recoveries of 101 percent for ilmenite and 98 percent of rutile, and 74 percent for zircon consistent with past performance and planned recovery improvements from mineral separation plant optimization.