Firm in race against time for licences  

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 04:18 | By
How Kenya can exploit her huge mining potential

Kwale-based Titanium miner Base Resources is racing against time to acquire new licences to sustain its mining and exploration activities in Kenya’s coast region.

External Affairs General Manager Simon Wall notes that the company’s license for the Bumanani project, which is by far its most active, comes up for renewal in November 2024, and that the company has lodged for new licences to expand its drilling programmes and extend operations at the site.

“We are extremely focused on life extension opportunities. As it currently stands, our mine life with the Bumanani project will take us through to November 2024. Obviously, when we get to that point, if we have not identified any additional resources, we might move to mine closure,” Wall said during a virtual media meeting with media yesterday.

Bumanani project deal

Last year, the Australian-based miner committed $28.1 million (Sh3.3 billion) in the Bumanani project, extending its business in the area by 13 months to November 2024.

In the quarter leading to December 31, 2022, the company spent $158,000 (Sh19.6 million) on exploration activities up from $53,000 (Sh6.6 million) mining 4.5 million metric tonnes of Ore.

According to the External Affairs Manager Melba Wasunna the company has lodged new prospective licences in Kuranze region of Kwale County and an area south of Lamu, which remain on hold pending lifting of the moratorium on issuance of new mineral rights to expand its drilling programmes and extend operations of the mine life.

Authorities last week indicated they would lift a temporary ban on licensing mining activities in place from 2019 that allowed for the survey on the country’s mineral deposits, a development that Wall welcomed.

The mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya said the Government is establishing an online cadaster before it begins issuing licenses.

Wall said during the quarter, demand for their products was strong, especially from the Chinese pigment market, which has since stabilised after a prolonged lull, with most Chinese pigment plants moving back to normal production levels.

In the financial year 2022, the Kwale operations generated $279.1 million (Sh34.6 billion) in earnings accounting for 65 per cent of Kenya’s total mineral output value.

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