Kenmare Resources has today announced an 88% reduction in debt and a return to profit after record output in 2016, which it expects to beat in 2017.

The company is of the biggest global producers of titanium minerals and zircon which are used in the manufacture of paints, plastics and ceramics.

The Dublin-based company operates the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in northern Mozambique.

Kenmare restructured its debt last year after being hit hard by the commodity price crash of 2015 and early 2016. 

It said its fortunes have been transformed by a combination of cost-cutting that reduced cash operating expenses by 18%, a rebound in the market for its commodities and a debt repayment holiday until February 2018. 

"We went from a prolonged and deep downcycle to the current strong recovery. It was a year of two halves," Managing Director Michael Carvill said. 

He blamed the price crash in the minerals they produce on surplus supply from China, which he said the fall in prices had addressed as it prevented surplus production. 

Earlier this month in China, the official Securities Times reported a more than 200% gain in titanium concentrate prices compared with early 2016. 

"The product market recovery remains at an early stage and we believe higher prices will be required to meet growing titanium feedstock demand," Mr Carvill said. 

Kenmare said that shipments of finished products rose by 28% to a record 1,024,200 tonnes and the company said it expected to increase the number this year. 

Its net debt at the end of 2016 was down 88% to $44.8m following recapitalisation and record production of the minerals it produces - ilmenite, rutile and zircon. 

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) stood at $5.2m compared to a loss of $11.5m in 2015.

"I remain optimistic that the positive industry supply/demand dynamics combined with the operational improvements and stability achieved during 2016, places Kenmare in an excellent position to deliver meaningful long term returns to shareholders," Mr Carvill said.