By Alloys Musyoka
The Australian Base Titanium Mining company that is operating in Kwale has confirmed the presence of heavy minerals with a peak of drill hole grade 6.3 per cent heavy mineral at the Kwale East exploration.
Its Australian-based parent firm – Base Resources- said in a trading update that there was also discovery of high value minerals assemblage with three areas being identified for further targeted exploration exercise as part of a second phase air core drilling program.
In the report the company reported steady price for ilmenite and slightly lower for rutile, while zircon prices moderately increased.
Mining volumes increased to 4.1Mt following a stoppage in the prior quarter for the transition of half the mining operations to the North Dune.
“Results from the first phase of drilling at the Umba South exploration project in Tanzania confirmed rutile mineralization was present but a number of factors were identified limiting the project’s economic potential, with further exploration activity paused pending receipt of assay results from a second phase infill drilling program,” reads the report.
Apart from that the company has reported that engagement with the Government of Madagascar on Toliara Project fiscal terms, and lifting of the project’s on-ground suspension, has been limited during the quarter due to the Government focus on an overhaul of the Malagasy Mining Code and preparations for the upcoming Presidential elections.
“While the Company remains committed to developing the world class project and is ready to progress, until the Mining Code reform is finalized, and the elections scheduled for late 2023 have concluded, the Company does not expect to achieve material progress in securing fiscal terms or lifting of the project’s on-ground suspension,” added the report.
In February 2023 Base Titanium started ore extraction at its new site of Bumamani in Kwale that is expected to extend its mining life until the end of 2024.
The new mining area, which covers the Kwale North Dune, is expected to yield up to 17.9 million tonnes of titanium ore, out of which the firm expects to get 42,000 tons of rutile, 171,000 tons of ilmenite and 20,000 tonnes of zircon according its earlier report.
Base Titanium spent Sh1.17 billion ($9.2 million) on preparatory work, land and equipment acquisition for the site in July, August and September 2022.
The company’s Kenya operation realized revenue of $126.6 million (Sh16.03 billion), driven by a 32 percent jump in the sales price of its product in the market compared to the corresponding period in 2021 in the six months to December 2022.
It produced 38,384 tonnes of rutile, 170,771 tonnes of ilmenite, 14,043 tonnes of zircon and a combined 9,228 tonnes of low-grade rutile and zircon products in the half-year period.