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Kwale miner reaps as titanium prices climb


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

The international price of titanium rose 54.8 percent in the quarter ended March from a year earlier, benefiting Base Titanium that is mining the mineral in Kwale County.

The company 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 lifted its revenue by 28.3 percent to Sh9.2 billion despite quantities sold declining 17 percent to 107,700 tonnes.

Kenya, that earns royalties from the Kwale operation at a rate of five percent of sales, is another beneficiary of the price boom.

The company’s parent firm — Base Resources — said that strong demand for the titanium minerals ilmenite, rutile and zircon led to the price gains.

“Demand for imported ilmenite as a feedstock for Chinese Titanium dioxide pigment producers, particularly from the company’s customers, again exceeded supply resulting in significant price gains,” the multinational said.

“Despite this very high price environment, ilmenite supply from traditional swing sources has not been able to keep pace with demand and markets remain very tight.”

Base Resources 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 has secured even higher prices for products being delivered in the current quarter ending June.

Production in Kwale fell by 1.2 percent to 109,700 tonnes in the quarter ended March and was slightly ahead of the quantities sold.

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