Image Resources is set to load a delayed shipment to China in the first week of March following the impact of the coronavirus.
The shipment of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) from Image’s Boonanarring mineral sands project in Western Australia was initially intended to set sail last month.
Image secured a sales agreement for further shipment in the last week of March, fulfilling its target of three shipments in the March quarter.
The size of both HMC shipments in March have risen from 20,000 to 25,000 tonnes.
Image noted that factory workers from its offtake partners had returned to regular work schedules, with their HMC separation facilities also returning to full production.
Media reports have stated regions of China outside of Hubei Province are deemed to be at low risk of contact with the coronavirus, according to Image.
The company expects to maintain larger shipment sizes or a higher frequency in shipments to accommodate greater HMC production forecast for this year.
“Since the emergence of the coronavirus in China, we have been in close contact with our offtake partners to understand the risks and potential effects to their employees, their business operations and local economy in which they operate,” Image managing director Patrick Mutz said.
“It is pleasing to learn they have not been affected directly and are now returning to normal operations and full production.
“It is also pleasing to be experiencing 11-year record low foreign exchange rates between the Australian dollar and the US dollar, which if it remains below the budgeted rate of 0.70, will have a positive impact on AUD revenue.”
Mutz said ilmenite and rutile had experienced increasing demand, which drove higher market prices in the second half of last year and offset a softening of zircon prices.
The managing director expects the higher demand to continue.
“We also maintain the high priority of accelerated exploration under project MORE for the identification of new mineral resources and ore reserves as quickly as practicable, with the goal of extending mine life at Boonanarring,” Mutz concluded.