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Base to spend Sh 3.3bn on new mining site in Kenya

Base Titanium has announced plans to spend Sh3.3 billion at a new mining site on its Kwale operation in Kenya. The Australian-based parent firm said the move aims to extend the life of the venture by 13 months to December 2024.

Mining at the new site, known as Bumamani, will commence in March next year after land access arrangements are finalised. The new mining area is expected to yield up to 17.9 million tonnes of titanium ore, out of which the firm expects to get 42,000 tonnes of rutile, 171,000 tonnes of ilmenite and 20,000 tonnes of zircon.

Cost expenditure

“Proceeding with the Bumamani Project is a significant further step towards extending mine life at Kwale Operations and maintaining operational continuity, providing additional time to develop other opportunities in Kenya and the region. The cost estimated will include including the acquisition of land and the additional mine services and infrastructure that will be required. Capital costs will be funded from internally generated cash flows,” said the firm.

Base Titanium started mining at the Central Dune whose minerals were exhausted in 2019 and shifted its operations to the South Dune where it is currently producing the titanium products and where it expects production to continue until May 2024. The mining firm has also lined up exploration work in more areas in Kwale and Lamu counties, and also has an eye on Tanzania.

The decision to proceed with the additional extraction work on the Bumamani or Northern concession area comes at a time when the company is benefiting from higher titanium prices in the global market. In the quarter ended March 2022, the company sold the commodity at an average price per tonne of $740 (87,098), up from $478 (Sh56,261) the year before. This lifted its revenue by 28.3% to Sh9.2 billion despite quantities sold declining 17% to 107,700 tonnes, which also benefitted the government which earns royalties from the Kwale operation at a rate of 5% of sales.

 

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