PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mineral sands miner Iluka has seen production increase in the three months to June, as full production resumed at its Synthetic Rutile 2 (SR2) kiln at Capel.
Total zircon/rutile and synthetic rutile production for the June quarter reached 175 300 t, up from the 125 300 t produced in the previous quarter.
Rutile production for the June quarter was up from 36 200 t, to 43 600 t, while synthetic rutile production was up from 19 000 t to 59 900 t, and zircon production increased from 70 100 t to 71 800 t.
Ilmenite production for the quarter also increased from 75 300 t to 160 000 t.
Iluka on Thursday reported that mining at Jacinth-Ambrosia, in South Australia, produced 58 000 t of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC), down from 71 000 t in the first quarter. The lower HMC production was the result of reduced ore grades, with throughput volumes in line with the first quarter.
Mining at the lower grade part of the Jacinth North deposit will occur over the next 12 months, Iluka told shareholders.
In Western Australia, the Cataby operation produced 108 000 t of HMC, down from 126 000 t in the previous quarter. Reduced HMC production was a result of lower run time owing to the impact of lower ore grades in line with the mining sequence and the impact of Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
The Narngulu mineral separation plant (MSP) operated at full capacity and processed 142 000 t of HMC, up from 135 000 t in the first quarter. The plant processed both Cataby and Jacinth-Ambrosia material to produce a total of 72 000 t of zircon and 14 000 t of rutile.
Production of synthetic rutile from SR2 kiln at Capel was 60 000 t, up from 19 000 t in the previous quarter, with SR2 returning to full production in April following the planned suspension in the first quarter.
Iluka noted that Eneabba Phase 1 produced 10 000 t of monazite/zircon concentrate, in line with planned shipment requirements and the offtake agreement in place to underpin this initial phase of rare earth operations.
In Sierra Leone, Iluka produced 65 000 t of HMC during the quarter, compared with the 72 000 t produced in the first quarter, on the back of lower run rate time and feed rates.
Rutile production in Sierra Leone reached 30 000 t in the June quarter, up from the 26 000 t produced in the first quarter, owing to higher rutile assemblage within the HMC treated and higher recovery.
Iluka in May this year gave the Sierra Leone government six months’ notice of its intention to temporarily suspend operations in the region, effective from November 19, as the company explores ways to reset the cost base of the operation and attract new investors to pursue the development of Sembehun rutile deposit.