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Base Resources targets higher rutile, ilmenite output in FY'17

Mineral sands producer Base Resources Ltd. expects to produce 88,000 tonnes to95,000 tonnes of rutile in its fiscal 2017.

The ASX and London-listed company said July 8 that ilmenite productionfor the year ending June 30, 2017, will lie between 450,000 tonnes and 480,000tonnes, while zircon output will range from 35,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes. Itsonly producing asset is the Kwale mine in Kenya.

Kwale produced 85,654 tonnes of rutile, 455,870 tonnes ofilmenite and 31,389 tonnes of zircon in fiscal 2016.

For the quarter ended June 30, the company noted recordsales volumes of ilmenite and rutile owing to an improvement in titanium dioxidefeedstock markets.

On a yearly basis, ilmenite production in the June quarterrose to 119,340 tonnes from 113,476 tonnes while rutile output reached 21,766tonnes from 19,499 tonnes. Zircon production jumped to 9,471 tonnes from 6,484tonnes as it achieved 78% zircon recovery in the quarter.

Production rose as mineral separation plant throughputincreased to 88 tonnes per hour from 82 tonnes per hour a year ago, boostingheavy mineral concentrate output to 226,453 tonnes from 206,123 tonnes yearover year.

Revenue per tonne sold hit US$208, down from US$247 a yearago, but cash operating costs per tonne produced fell to US$82 from US$98 ayear earlier. Operating costs in the September quarter are forecast to rise dueto the planned mid-life servicing of its mobile mining fleet.

In the September quarter, Base Resources is eyeingthroughput rates above 90 tonnes per hour at the mineral separation plant,although the company also expects blended average ore grades to fall in thecoming quarters once its 400 tonne per hour hydraulic mining unit isintroduced. This will allow the simultaneous mining of high grade ore with theexisting trap mining unit, allowing access to lower grade blocks in a costeffective manner.