Irish company Kenmare Resources said its production following the relocation of Wet Concentrator Plant B (WCP B) in Mozambique is “in line with expectations.”
Kenmare operates the Moma titanium minerals mine in northern Mozambique.
WCP B has been operating for over a month following its relocation, in what was one of the largest moves of a single piece of equipment in the world.
It will help Kenmare to achieve targeted production of ilmenite – a mineral found in hundreds of items from paint to fabrics and food – of 1.2 million tonnes per year.
In an update, Michael Carvill, managing director of Kenmare Resources, said the temporary measures that the company implemented to mitigate project delays caused by global Covid-19 restrictions, have been effective.
“We expect operations at Pilivili to be running on grid power before the end of the year, while the Heavy Mineral Concentrate pumping system is to begin commissioning in quarter one 2021,” Mr Carvill said.
Following the installation of a powerline completed in mid-November at the mine, and the installation of the electrical substations anticipated to be completed shortly, operations at Pilivili are expected to be grid powered from the middle of this month.
Kenmare said it is on track to begin the commissioning and ramp-up of the HMC pumping system during the first three months of next year.
The ilmenite product market has been robust in the final three months of 2020, supported by strong pigment demand and lower ilmenite production, particularly in China, according to Kenmare.
These markets dynamics are supportive of group’s plans to increase supply next year, helping to meet global demand, it added.
Job Langbroek, analyst at Davy, said the move, start-up and ramp-up of WCP B have gone “as well as can be expected. This is positive and encouraging news for shareholders.”
“Strong pigment demand and the upward pricing trajectory evident for ilmenite, especially in China, bode well for a strong close to the year. Kenmare’s final quarter volume and sales shipped metrics are not due until January, but we strongly suspect that they will point to an upward correction in market expectations for group profitability and cash flow in 2020 and 2021,” Mr Langbroek said.