London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 25 January 2010 – Kenmare Resources Plc (Kenmare) – a Dublin-based miner quoted on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges “’ is looking into doubling production at its titanium minerals project in Mozambique, helping plug a global supply shortage it envisages from 2011 onwards.
“The company expects to produce about 700 000 tonnes of ilmenite, from which titanium is sourced, at its US$410 million (R3 billion) Moma operation this year, and is currently working on an expansion study,” managing director Michael Carvill told Reuters.
“We are working on an expansion study, the results of which will be out shortly,” said Carvill, who was previously a project engineer at Tara Mines. “We are hopeful that it will be a positive thing for our shareholders,” he added.
“I don’t see why, as demand increases, we can’t keep expanding,” he added. “Significantly, we hope to certainly produce more than twice our current output.”
Carvill “’ whose company started work at the Moma mine in 1987 “’ said he hoped start the increase in production as soon as possible, with the eventual objective of doubling output.
Kenmare produces ilmenite, rutile and zircon, which are mostly used to make titanium pigment by the chemicals industry. Titanium dioxide is a pigment used in products such as paint, plastics, paper, fabrics and inks.
The company, which employs about 600 people at its Moma mine, produced around 560 000 tonnes of ilmenite last year, and has reserves of about 175 million tonnes.
“We see reasonably strong demand growth, particularly from emerging markets,” said Carvill.
Although most of the company’s customer base is in the United States and Europe, it hopes to attract business from China and other emerging markets in the future.
“We are ramping up production as it is a new mine,” Carvill said. “Demand is closely tied into world economic growth, which we are seeing in customer enquiries now. Six months ago, volumes started to pick up but it’s only recently that we’ve seen quite a significant increase.”