In the three months ending September 30, mining company Kenmare Resources announced record production at its Mozambique mine.
Kenmare produces ilmenite, the principal ore of titanium, which is used in the production of paints, fabrics, paper, and cosmetics, among other things.
In the third quarter, the company produced 413,400 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC), a 60 per cent increase over the same period the previous year. According to a group update, the performance was “in line with expectations.”
Ilmenite production of 314,400 tonnes in quarter three increased 87pc year-on-year, setting a new record.
Primary zircon production was 15,700 tonnes, a 44pc increase compared to quarter three 2020, benefitting from increased HMC production.
Meanwhile, total shipments of finished products of 322,600 tonnes were up 173pc year-on-year.
The company said demand for its products remained “robust” in the three months, supporting “strong sales volumes and further price increases.”
The recovery in the downstream titanium markets continued, supporting high utilisations at pigment plants globally and strong demand from titanium metal producers, according to Kenmare.
This year, despite an increase in the supply of ilmenite from mines in China and concentrate products from Mozambique, the market has continued to be “tight”, the company said.
“Q3 2021 represents the first quarter of ilmenite production at nameplate capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum, an 87pc increase on the production achieved in Q3 2020,” Michael Carvill, managing director of Kenmare Resources, said.
“Market conditions for all products remained strong in Q3 2021 with pricing strengthening quarter on quarter, a robust order book in place and positive outlook across markets.”
Looking forward, despite expected lower grades in the last three months of this year, Mr Carvill said the company remains “confident in the outlook for 2021 annual production and re-iterate our guidance of 1.1-1.2 million tonnes of ilmenite.”
Kenmare said it continues to monitor the impact of power disruption to industries in China, “and the potential effect on demand related to the uncertainty in the Chinese real estate market.”
However, it added that demand “remains strong from our customers in China, and elsewhere, into Q4 and global feedstock inventories remain at low levels.”
Shares in Kenmare were up almost 3pc in early afternoon trading in Dublin on Thursday.