The Iluka Resources Limited (ASX: ILU) share price jumped 8.79% this morning after the company announced stronger-than-expected quarterly and full-year results for the period ending 31 December 2018.
For the full-year 2018, Iluka produced 348,600 tonnes of zircon, an 11.6% increase on 2017. The company had previously provided guidance of 330,000 tonnes, so the results were a well-received surprise.
2018 rutile production was down 46%, diminished by the cessation of operations at Murray Basin and incidents of strike action. The company had already revised down its rutile production estimates for 2018 after worker strikes at the Sierra Rutile project in Sierra Leone.
Revenue for 2018 was up 22%, driven primarily by a 41% increase in the weighted average price of zircon. Sales volumes were down 7% as a result of previously mentioned production constraints.
Additionally, this morning the company provided its first mineral resource estimate of rutile mineralisation at the Pejebu Deposit. Iluka estimates the deposit consists of 23.4Mt material at 0.95% in situ rutile. This works out to 0.22Mt of zircon, which is in line with previous estimates.
The Iluka Resources share price has fallen 15.7% in the last 12 months, compared to the S&P/ASX 200 which has dropped 2.31% in the period.
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