Titanium miner Kenmare Resources has announced that it plans to pay out its first dividend next year, which it described as a "watershed moment" for the company.

Kenmare said that dividends will be based on a minimum of 20% of profits after tax and are expected to commence with an interim dividend for the second half of 2019.

Kenmare operates the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in northern Mozambique.

It said today that ore mined in the third quarter of 2018 increased by 8% to 8,411,000 tonnes from 7,788,000 tonnes the same time last year.

In a trading update, Kenmare said that production of ilmenite stood at 233,900 tonnes, down 9% on the third quarter of 2013, while zircon production fell by 10% to 16,200 tonnes from 18,100 tonnes.

The company noted that Chinese ilmenite spot market conditions are improving, following cautious buying in recent months, while zircon prices continued to advance.

"We believe that industry fundamentals are supportive of higher prices, and while global growth concerns and normal seasonal weakness have driven some buying caution, this appears to be lifting," commented Michael Carvill, the company's managing director. 

"Prices of ilmenite, our main product, remain at less than 50% of the previous peak and, in our view, are unlikely to be sufficient to incentivise the necessary new supply to replace depleting mines and meet continued demand growth in the medium term," he added.