Iluka Resources has suffered a reduction in first half sales this year despite ramping up production of zircon, rutile and synthetic rutile (Z/R/SR).
The company’s first half sales of 302,000 tonnes of Z/R/SR was down from 439,000 tonnes in last year’s corresponding period, which Iluka blamed on several external factors.
Zircon sales were “affected by trade and geopolitical tensions impacting sentiment in key markets”, while rutile and synthetic rutile sales were “lower on available production (as) market conditions remain tight.”
Despite this, June quarter Z/R/SR production was up 10 per cent to 169,000 tonnes due to a return to full capacity at the Capel synthetic rutile kiln 2, following a major maintenance outage during the March quarter.
Iluka’s $270 million Cataby project in Western Australia was commissioned and first production of heavy mineral concentrate was achieved during the quarter.
The Cataby project produced 66,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate in the June quarter.
Magnetic material was trucked south to Capel for processing into ilmenite and then upgrading to synthetic rutile in the kiln, while non-magnetics (rutile and zircon) have been trucked north to the Narngulu mineral separation plant.
Looking forward, Iluka reported that the operation is focused on continued ramp up to targeted availability and plant throughput.
Since the release of Iluka’s quarterly review yesterday, the company’s share price has decreased over 10 per cent.