Kenya’s’ largest mining venture, Base Titanium’s Kwale Mine has just over three years mine life remaining according to the mineral firm’s General Manager for External Affairs Simon Wall.
He said by mid 2023 all currently identified deposits of minerals will have been extracted and mining operations will cease.
Wall says as mining ceases so too will the benefits emanating from the Kwale Mine, including the majority of the Base’s direct employment, the majority of Base’s spending in the Kenyan economy close to Sh 3 billion per year and all of Base’s community development programmes such as scholarships, agriculture, health and infrastructure.
The official noted in an effort to ensure that these benefits continue to flow from Base’s operations, a series of exploration programmes have been undertaken in an effort to identify new, nearby deposits.
Base Titanium has been working closely with a number of stakeholders in Kwale County including community representatives, administrative officials and the national government through the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining in an effort to gain land access for exploration activities in Fahamuni, Michingirini, Dargube, Gongonda and Kidzumbani areas.
The Kwale Minerals Sand Operations (Base Titanium) in Kwale county commenced production in 2013 and features a high grade ore body with high value mineral assemblage such as rutile, ilmenite and zircon.
“These engagements play an important role of informing local residents of the impacts of exploration and ensuring they understand their rights,” he observed.
Key to this he said is the need for Base to obtain consent from the land-owner/occupier before entering the property to undertake exploration.
During the exploration phase in search of new mineral deposits there is no need for local residents to sell their land or to be resettled elsewhere.
Each exploration hole takes between 45-60 mins to drill and is done with minimal disturbance and damage.
The resulting hole measures just 7cm in diameter and is refilled, returning the land to its original state.It is a fact of the mining sector that new mineral deposits cannot be discovered without undertaking exploration work which has also come with benefits of its own with the local community gaining employment in the various drill sites.
“In order for Base Titanium to continue to contribute to the growth of the mining sector it is imperative that land access for exploration be granted,” said Wall.
He said Base will continue to work with local communities and leaders to ensure that concerns, fears and apprehensions are addressed and that the rights of community members are respected – both those willing to have exploration carried out on their land and those who oppose these activities.
By Hussein Abdullahi