Iluka withdraws guidance, BHP demerger on hold

Heavy minerals concentrate. Image: Iluka Resources

Iluka Resources has withdrawn its 2020 guidance amid the uncertainty over the impact and duration of the coronavirus pandemic on global demand and its markets.

With potential further impacts on production as the coronavirus pandemic continues to create uncertainty, the company decided to withdraw its guidance for the 2020 financial year.

Meanwhile, the company has put the demerger of its royalty on BHP’s Area C iron ore project in Western Australia on hold until further notice.

During the company’s virtual annual general meeting, managing director Tom O’Leary said Iluka intends to undertake the royalty business demerger during 2020 but did not give any updates to the timeline.

“The demerger will proceed when it is practicable to do so, and the company will update the market in due course,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary said Iluka had the balance sheet strength to endure a global downturn with no debt and undrawn facilities of $519 million.

However, he said work on some aspects of Iluka’s project development portfolio has been curtailed in the short term due to restrictions on the movement of people.

Mining trials at the Balranald project in New South Wales and the Sembehun project in Sierra Leone originally scheduled for the first half of the year have been deferred.

The completion of preliminary feasibility studies for the Wimmera project and the Atacama project in South Australia has also been pushed back to 2021.

However, Iluka expects first sales from the Eneabba project in Western Australia in the third quarter as the commissioning of phase one of the mineral sands recovery project was able to continue.

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