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Iluka Resources Limited (ASX:ILU) shares up as debt drops and revenue rises

Shares in Iluka Resources Limited (ASX: ILU) are up 1.2% to $11.25 in early morning trade after the release of a quarterly report.

The mineral sands explorer today announced revenue from zircon and rutile will lift 21%, despite lower sales volumes and reduced FY18 production guidance.

Iluka’s Sierra Leone operations experienced “operational difficulties” in the first half that saw annual production guidance for rutile reduce from 200 thousand tonnes to 185.

Earlier this month Citi analysts upgraded Iluka’s shares to a buy rating with a price target of $13.70 off the back of improvements in pricing.

Iluka has also reduced net debt to $34 million from $183 million at December 31, 2017, with strong free cash flow of $226 million in the first half and a $69 million final dividend payment for 2017.

Fellow mineral sands miner Base Resources Limited (ASX: BSE) is gaining plenty of attention for its growth potential but BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) still hold the title for best buy and hold resources stocks.

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Motley Fool contributor Carin Pickworth has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.