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Base to extend mining operations in Kenya by one year

Base to extend mining operations in Kenya by one year

Australian mining company, Base Titanium has announced it will extend its operations in Kenya by one year under a new licence.

Cabinet Secretary John Munyes confirmed the report and said the petroleum and mining ministry is processing a license for the company which currently has about 15 months of mine life at its current licensed area, where operation is expected to cease in October 2022.

However, mining activities cannot take place without a ‘deed of variation’ to extend its Special Mining Lease boundary, which was pending.

“We have looked at the application and a license will be issued soon. The company has put in place the required measures, including earning a social license to operate in Kenya,” said Munyes.

Mineral revenue earnings

The company which commenced production in late 2013 accounts for 65% of Kenya’s mineral exports. Together with Tata Chemicals, which accounts for 48.9% of sector revenues, the two holds 77% of the country’s mineral revenue earnings. It is currently mining the last site (South Dune) where mineral concentration has significantly dropped, according to the firm, which is looking for options to extend the mine life as it hopes for expansion to other areas.

“Our current reserves will be mined and depleted by next year October. We have had a number of outstanding issues which have been resolved, paving way for the license which gives us about 12 months of mining,” said general manager external affairs Simon Wall.

The firm began mining titanium ores in the country in 2013, with the first shipment in February 2014. It is keen to further expand its operations having applied for three prospecting licenses. These are for Ramisi area in Msambweni, Kuranzi area near the Kwale-Taita Taveta Counties border and Lamu.

Government revenues from Base Titanium are estimated at a total Sh23 billion over the current mine life, with Sh3.7 billion being spent annually on purchases from Kenyan businesses by the company, which has employed over 1,000 people.

Others key mining companies in the country are Kenya Fluorspar which accounts for 18.6% of mining revenues, Karebe Gold(4.6%), Kilimapesa Gold(0.7%) and Lapigems Limited(0.4%). The rest of the industry players account for 15.5%.

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