Environmental rehabilitation of Kwale Mineral site gains momentum

Environmental rehabilitation efforts at the Kwale Mineral Sands Operations in Kenya have gained momentum ahead of the anticipated mine closure in November 2023.

Simon Wall, the General Manager, External Affairs at Base Titanium confirmed the report and said the company is determined to ensure land disturbed by mining activities is returned to a sustainable post-mining land use. The Kwale based Australian mining firm has been operating on the South Coast of Kenya extracting minerals mainly ilmenite, rutile and zircon and is accredited as a Kenya Vision 2030 flagship mining project.

Operations at the Kwale mineral sands are still underway, but the project has been the recipient of extensive progressive rehabilitation works under which land is repurposed and reclaimed alongside mining operations. Wall said Base Titanium is committed to operating in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner by pursuing an ambitious reclamation project.

Environmental damage

He noted that one of the most significant forms of environmental damage at the project is the loss of topsoil and the resulting destruction of plant life on the surface of the soil. Rehabilitation and restoration are two key processes necessary to minimize and mitigate the impacts of mining operations and restore the landscape to the ‘natural’ pre-mining land cover.

“Research-led rehabilitation methods of both south and central mine dunes at our Kwale operations are progressing well. So far Base Titanium has been able to rehabilitate more than 200 hectares of mined land involving filling the mines pits and covering the land with native grass and tree species. More than 600 acres will soon be available for agricultural activities for post mining land use,” said Wall.

Wall added that Base Titanium will not abandon its operations site without being adequately decommissioned and reclaimed saying it’s a key plank in its mine closure plan. Discussions are ongoing among the stakeholders on various land use options and opportunities that will arise once Base finalizes its mining operations.

“Once our mining leases expire the land will revert back to the government which in consultation with stakeholders will identify the most viable land use options or redevelopment opportunities,” he said adding that post-mining land uses may aid in mitigating the loss of employment.

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