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Irish heavy mineral sands miner plans to expand its Mozambique operation

10th November 2017

By: Keith Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The Mozambique newspaper Notícias has reported that heavy mineral sands miner Kenmare Moma Mining, a subsidiary of Irish company Kenmare Resources, was to undertake public consultations this month regarding the expansion of its operations. Kenmare owns and operates the Moma titantium minerals mine, in Nampula province, in north-east Mozambique, which has been in commercial operation since 2009. Moma produces a variety of grades of ilmenite and rutile, as well as zircon.

According to the newspaper, there will be five public sessions to explain the necessity to rehouse people in order to allow the expansion of the mine. The sessions will be undertaken by Coastal & Environmental Services Mozambique and are intended to inform the interested and affected parties of the objectives, relevance and impacts of the process.

The miner revealed the step in a recent press release to Mozambique media. This stated that the rehousing plan “will be developed to address the issues concerning households in the communities directly affected by the project to start the exploitation of a new deposit of heavy [mineral] sands”.

Early last month, Kenmare Resources released its ‘Production Report’ for the third quarter (Q3) of this year. “Q3 2017 represented another record quarter for Kenmare’s ilmenite production, keeping the company on track for the highest-ever annual production, which will be within the guidance range,” affirmed company MD Michael Carvill. “In the product market, Chinese demand for ilmenite is improving again, following a slower period in the last couple of months. The zircon market has performed strongly, with a further price increase in H2 [second half of] 2017.”

The company’s output of total finished products came to 277 800 t in Q3, up from 265 700 t in the same period last year. The amount of ore mined was up 9% in relation to Q3 2016 (7 788 000 t, as against 7 160 800 t). Ilmenite production rose 6% to 257 500 t, compared with the 243 500 t of Q3 2016. The mine’s ilmenite output is on track to hit an annual record by the end of this year.

However, heavy mineral concentrate production fell 16% (to 272 600 t) in Q3 2017, in relation to the 325 100 t of Q3 last year. This was caused by “more challenging” mining conditions and lower grades; but these are expected to improve during the fourth quarter. Zirocn production was also down, by 8% (to 18 100 t from 19 700 t) “due to an increase of intermediate zircon stocks, as ongoing circuit modifications progressed”. Because of planned maintenance to the main transport vessel, total shipments of finished products were down by 26% to 208 400 t in Q3 2017, compared with Q3 2016 as against 280 800 t. This was in accord with previous guidance to the market.

Kenmare also reported that, after the conclusion of a definitive feasibility study (carried out by Hatch Engineering), it had decided to go ahead with a 20% upgrade of its wet concentrator plant B. This will increase its throughput from 2 000 t/h to 2 400 t/h. The upgrade will be executed in a phased manner next year and should cost up to $16-million.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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