Irish mining company Kenmare Resources, which operates the titanium minerals dredge mine at Moma in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, has reported healthy production in the third quarter of 2016, and a decline in operating costs.

According to a company statement on its third quarter performance, production of finished products between July and September was a record and “Moma is on track to achieve record finished product output for the full year”.

The mine produces ilmenite (titanium iron oxide), rutile (titanium dioxide) and zircon (zirconium silicate). Its ilmenite production in the third quarter was 243,500 tonnes, 12 per cent higher than the previous quarter, while zircon production increased by 48 per cent to 19,700 tonnes.

The total shipment of finished products in the quarter was 280,800 tonnes, which compares with 190,000 tonnes in the third quarter of 2015.

The main consumer of ilmenite is China and the ilmenite price in China has risen by 70 per cent so far this year, while the mine’s cash operating costs per tonne trended downwards over the quarter.

Kenmare Managing Director Michael Cargill said the record output of finished product in the third quarter demonstrated the benefits of a stable power supply to the mine and of the increased mining of higher grades of ore.

He believed that Kenmare “is well positioned to benefit from increasingly favourable operational and market dynamics in 2017”.

The statement also announced that Kenmare had reached agreement with the local community on mining the area known as Monte Filipe in the coming months. This is a sensitive issue, since the area is regarded as sacred, although objections seem to have been overcome with the promise to hold a traditional ceremony in order to ratify the agreement with the community.

Moma has suffered from irregular electricity supply, but Kenmare says the power supplied by the electricity company, EDM, from the national grid is now stable. As a result, “supplementary generators will not be turned on as a matter of course but will remain on standby should the need arise”.