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Base Resources sees record ilmenite and rutile production in latest quarter

Strong demand for paint pigment meant strong sales prices of ilmenite and rutile for minerals sands firm Base Resources
Workers at the Kwale mine in Kenya
Workers at the Kwale mine in Kenya

Strong demand for paint pigment meant strong sales prices of ilmenite and rutile for minerals sands firm Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE, ASX:BSE) in its September quarter, it revealed.

Prices for its ilmenite increased by around 50% between May and September and it has now contracted all ilmenite production to November and secured further step price increases for these forward sales.

On rutile, higher than expected offtake by major consumers during 2016 has rebalanced supply and demand and Base expects prices to begin moving upwards late in the December quarter or early in the March quarter 2017.

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It comes as the firm set a new quarterly record for rutile production of 22,500 tonnes versus 21,800 in the June quarter due to more throughput in the separation plant.

Ilmenite production also achieved a new quarterly record, rising to 122,000 tonnes, compared to 119,000 tonnes in the preceding quarter,

The firm produced 9,050 tonnes of zircon compared to 9,471 tonnes in the previous three months.

Significantly, tight cost controls combined with higher production meant a unit operating cost of US$78 per tonne (of rutile, ilmenite and zircon) versus US$93 per tonne last quarter.

This was the lowest unit operating cost to date from the Kwale mine in Kenya.

The group has maintained its full year 2017 production guidance at rutile - 88,000 to 95,000 tonnes; ilmenite – 450,000 to 480,000 tonnes; Zircon –35,000 to 40,000 tonnes.

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