Hydro mining at the Kwale mineral sands operation in Kenya

Mineral sands miner Base Resources has reported higher output expectations from its Kwale mineral sands operations in Kenya for the 2020 financial year.

Since commencing mining on the South Dune orebody in July 2019, Base Resources has encountered higher rutile and marginally lower ilmenite than expected in the mineral assemblage, with zircon largely as forecast.

In addition, due to the mineral characteristics of the South Dune ore, separation efficiency has improved, when compared with the Central Dune ore, and recoveries for all products in the mineral separation plant (MSP) are higher, particularly for rutile and zircon.

With the expectation that these trends will continue, in conjunction with higher mining volumes achieved year to date, the production guidance for all products has been revised upwards for FY 2020.

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The guidance for rutile production for the full year has been adjusted to between 75 000 t and 81 000 t from between 64 000 t and 70 000 t.

The company has also increased its ilmenite production guidance to between 335 000 t and 355 000 t, up from between 315 000 t and 350 000 t, while its zircon production forecast has also increased from between 25 000 t and 28 000 t to 29 000 t and 32 000 t in FY 2020.

The updated FY20 production guidance is based on the following assumptions:

  • Mining of 18.7 Mt (increased from 18 Mt) at an average HM grade of 3.58% (no change), with the remainder of the FY20 volume coming entirely from Ore Reserves.
  • Average MSP feed rate of 79 tph (increased from 75 tph).
  • Average MSP product recoveries of 102% for rutile (increased from 99%), 101% for ilmenite (increased from 100%) and 85% for zircon (increased from 77%).