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Base Titanium seeks Sh2.2bn VAT refund backlog from taxman

Titanium  mining in Kwale. Base Titanium is seeking Sh2.18 billion in accumulated Value Added Tax refund  from KRA. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Titanium mining in Kwale. Base Titanium is seeking Sh2.18 billion in accumulated Value Added Tax refund from KRA. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Australian-owned Base Titanium says it is pursuing $21.1 million (Sh2.18 billion) in accumulated Value Added Tax refund claims as at the end of September from the Kenya Revenue Authority. The claims are “related to the construction of the Kwale project and the period since operations commenced” late 2013. 

The firm was paid 0.3 million (Sh30.99 million) in the April to June period, and says it is “continuing to engage” with the Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority to release the balance of the refunds. Base says it has paid about Sh1 billion royalties to the Kenya government in its four years of operation during which it has earned Sh45.5 billion from exports.

The mining firm pays royalties at the rate of 2.5 per cent on value of sales.

The Kwale-based large-scale miner also said its debt burden had eased by Sh1.23 billion ($11.9 million) in three months ended September 30, thanks to improved earnings from shipments.

Revenue improved in the review period on rising prices of zircon and stabilising ilmenite’s prices despite a drop in sales, Base said, helping slash net debt to $86.6 million (Sh8.95 billion). 

The company rebounded to full-year profit of Sh1.71 billion (AU$21 million) for the period ended June 30 from $20.9 million (Sh1.70 billion) loss a year earlier, but did not disclose the actual earnings in the quarter to September.

“The quarter was characterised by continuing improvement in zircon markets, stabilising ilmenite prices and a positive outlook for rutile. The continued strong performance has reduced net debt by a further US$11.9 million in the quarter,” the firm said in a statement.

Ilmenite sales dropped 25.38 per cent to 106,260 tonnes compared to the previous quarter largely on reduced demand in China, while rutile sales fell by 54.66 per cent to 12,594 tonnes.

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