South Africa's mining sector is one that has been worst hit by labour strife and a non-performing economy. [File photo: twwtn.com]
By Andrew Ngozo for gmmg.com
Mineral Commodities has contracted to sell up to 83,000 tonnes of ilmenite concentrate in the first quarter of 2017 from the Tormin Mineral Sands Operation in South Africa to Chinese buyers.
The company is expecting total ilmenite concentrate sales of about 200,000 tonnes in 2017. Mineral Commodities currently produces circa 20,000 tonnes of ilmenite concentrate per month from its Tormin Operations.
Since commencement of mining operations in 2014, the company has stockpiled about 200,000 tonnes of ilmenite concentrate, anticipating increased pricing. Mineral Commodities is currently experiencing strong demand for its ilmenite concentrate due to a tightening of the global ilmenite supply chain.
This has been partly due to curtailed domestic sulphate ilmenite production within China caused by environmental and economic cost of production factors. In addition, there has been an increased global demand for all downstream finished titanium products (Ilmenite is the most important ore of titanium).
Mineral Commodities is also seeing incremental quarter on quarter increases in sales pricing for its high grade non-magnetic zircon/rutile concentrate. Forty thousand (40,000) tonnes zircon/rutile concentrate and 300,000 tonnes garnet concentrate sales are expected for the 2017 financial year. The company is aiming to maximise sales (and earn the highest prices) in 2017 for all of its product range.
Mineral Commoditiesí» share price has increased by over 23% during the past one month, last trading at USD0.13. The deal from the Chinese buyers is likely to further boost Mineral Commodities' profile both in South Africa and abroad. This is likely to result in overall better performance for the South African mining sector, the economy in general and the confidence in thereof. South Africa's mining sector is one that has been worst hit by labour strife and a non-performing economy. For the Chinese to take such a giant leap of faith in the sector after a hectic 2016 can only mean that the sector will rise again to become the giant it is in Africa and in the world at large.