Base Resources rated as a ‘buy’ amid “stronger-than-expected” production

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Stockbroker Peel Hunt repeated a ‘buy’ recommendation for Base Resources Plc (LON:BSE) whilst pointing to the company’s stronger-than-expected production results for the March quarter.


Analyst Peter Mallin-Jones noted that the stronger performance was driven by both higher mining rates and grades, as well as slightly higher-than-expected recoveries of ilmenite in particular.


With a price target of 22p the stockbroker sees some 45% upside to the current price of 15.17p.


Mallin-Jones said that ilmenite and rutile volumes were well ahead of the broker’s own estimates, meanwhile, added that realised prices were also “well ahead”. Altogether this helped the company retire debt as Peel Hunt had previously expected, he added.


In a statement this morning, Base highlighted an upgrade to its 2021 production guidance for the Kwale operations in Kenya as it this morning issued its quarterly activities update.


The company said it expects higher volumes of both ilmenite and zircon.


Also, it pointed to the prices of ilmenite and rutile trending upwards during the quarter, and, said it had secured higher zircon prices for the June quarter.


In the statement, the mineral sands miner also noted that Kwale has maintained operational consistency through the quarter, with protocols in place to minimise the risk of COVID-19 to personnel and surrounding communities.


The company produced 84,178 tonnes of ilmenite during the three months ended March 31 along with 19,448 tonnes of rutile, 7,388 tonnes of zircon (and 482 tonnes of low grade zircon).


Ilmenite sales for the quarter totalled 97,179 tonnes and rutile amounted to 26,074 tonnes, while 6,612 tonnes of zircon was sold (plus 502 tonnes of low grade zircon).


During the period Base completed a pre-feasibility study for the Kwale North Dune project, with the study focused on mining higher grade subsets of the North Dune and Bumamani deposits.


In terms of financials, the company said it repaid an outstanding debt balance of US$25mln under its revolving credit facility and added that the facility had now been retired ahead of schedule.

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