Mining company Kenmare Resources said 2016 was a “record year of both production and shipments of all products”.

The firm, which produces titanium minerals and zircon, saw record annual, quarterly and monthly (December) production of ilmenite, rutile, and zircon.

It said demand for ilmenite grew strongly through 2016, resulting in significant price increases after the market bottomed in Q2.

Ilmenite production was 18% higher to more than 900,000 tonnes, while zircon production added almost a third to 68,200 tonnes.

Meanewhile, total shipments of finished products were up 28% in 2016, setting a record of 1,024,200 tonnes shipped (2015: 800,400 tonnes).

Kenmare said its total cash operating costs are expected to be within the guided range of $131-$141/tonne for the 2016 financial year.

Net debt at the company declined by 87% at the end of 2016 to $44.9m.

Kenmare operates the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in northern Mozambique.

The company’s Managing Director Michael Carvill said he expects production in 2017 “to rise further as mine optimisation continues, while unit costs of production are anticipated to fall further.

“Cash generation at the Mine has shown quarter on quarter improvements since bottoming in Q2 2016.

“Nevertheless, average Kenmare realised ilmenite prices lagged the spot market increases in 2016 as contracts had been agreed prior to the market resurgence.”