THE two-year long rehabilitation of Michael Carvill’s Kenmare Resources, an ilmenite and zircon producer from the Moma mine in Mozambique, could be said complete if – as promised by the firm’s chairman, Steven McTiernan – the company pays a dividend. That’s yet to materialise, but Kenmare is certainly moving in the right direction. Full-year production of ilmenite from Moma fell just short of the targeted one million tonnes, following good quarterly numbers throughout the year. The market for mineral sands is also improved, hence the firm’s half-year profit of $9.8m compared to a previous year’s loss of $47m. (Full-year figures were not out at the time of writing). It was losses of the ilk suffered previously that led to a drastic recapitalisation of Kenmare Resources in 2016. Shareholders – which included the State General Reserve Fund of the Sultanate of Oman – approved a massive $275m share placement, which cut net debt to $100m, and which is now at $34m. Given past balance sheet distress, however, payouts will have to be measured against capital requirements. The most important ponderable for Carvill will be building Namalope, a project extension of Moma; it is required because mine grades are falling. Already, Carvill is pointing to softer production numbers for 2018. However, where once there was grinding of teeth, shareholders are believers again.
LIFE OF MICHAEL
Carvill, who earned a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast, has been ‘in the wars’ over the years. He was kicked out of Sudan amid an Islamic revolution and searched in vain for gold in the Philippines shortly after the end of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. Moma has been Carvill’s biggest trial, however.
- Web Address: www.kenmareresources.com