Kenmare completes heaviest equipment relocation in Africa as WCP B arrives in Pilivili

Wet Concentrator Plant B on the move.

KENMARE Resources said it had completed the relocation of titanium minerals processing equipment – its Wet Concentrator Plant B (WCP B) – from its mined out Namalope resource some 23 kilometres to its new higher grade site of Pilivili.

The sites are located in the Moma mineral sands project in northern Mozambique. The firm’s CEO, Michael Carvill, said the project was the heaviest ever equipment relocation in Africa and among the largest one piece equipment moves undertaken globally.

“Moving the plant in one piece, an object weighing the equivalent of 550 double decker buses, taller than a seven-story building and wider than a football pitch, is a huge achievement for our company,” said Carvill in a statement. WCP B weighs about 7,100 tons, including ballast, and measures 24 metres high, 80 metres long, and 60 metres wide.

“This type of relocation is rare in the mining industry, but it was the correct choice for Kenmare given the economic benefits and lower risk profile it provided, compared to the alternatives we considered,” he said.

The relocation is the last of three projects the aim of which is to take production to 1.2 million tons of ilmenite annually from about 2021. In so doing, Kenmare will reduce cash operating costs to between $125 and $135/t and lay the foundation for improved shareholder returns.

The next stage of the relocation is to float the equipment across the Mualadi river and into the starter pond. Heavy mineral concentrate production from WCP B is expected to begin in the fourth quarter. A further update on WCP B is due in its third quarter production update, which is anticipated to be announced in mid-October, the company said.

Kenmare produced 892,000 tons of ilmenite in its 2019 financial year and expected production of between 700,000 to 800,000 tons this year. An increase in cash cost per ton of finished product has been estimated for the 2021 financial year of between $180 to $196/t compared to previous guidance of between $162 and $182/t.

Despite lower than expected production for the six months ended June 30, Kenmare announced a $2.31 cents per share interim dividend.