Kwale Titanium miner resumes operations


Mineral sands at Base Titanium processing facility in Kwale. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Base Titanium, the company mining titanium in Kwale County, has resumed operations a week after it shut operations following flooding of mining sites, its Australian-based parent firm Base Resources has said.

"Base Resources Limited is pleased to report that mining at the company’s Kwale Operations has, over the past week, progressively returned to normal following the outage caused by localised flash flooding," the multinational said in a trading update.

"Although this was an abnormal weather event, a series of mitigations are being implemented to reduce the likelihood of a future reoccurrence, including the construction of additional stormwater diversion bunds and the acquisition of supplementary high capacity diesel dewatering pumps."

The company said its annual output projections remain unchanged after the interruption caused by the floods.

The development comes as a relief for the company at a time the Kenyan mining operation has benefited from a global supply disruption of mineral sands production which lifted the price of titanium 54.8 percent in the quarter ended March from a year earlier.

Base Titanium sold the commodity at an average price per tonne of $740 (85,840) in the review period, up from $478 (Sh55,448) the year before.

This raised its revenue by 28.3 percent to Sh9.2 billion despite quantities sold declining 17 percent to 107,700 tonnes.

The rising revenue is set to lift the earnings of the subsidiary besides generating higher royalties and taxes for the government. Kenya earns royalties from the Kwale operation at a rate of five percent of sales, making it one of the biggest beneficiaries of the price boom.

Base Resources said strong demand for the titanium minerals ilmenite, rutile and zircon led to the price gains.

The multinational added that the Ukraine conflict is expected to significantly disrupt the supply of Ukrainian mineral sands, further supporting the high prices.

The company said it had secured even higher prices for products being delivered in the current quarter ending June.

[email protected]