Base titanium mine for Kenya by 2013
October 26, 2010
Base Titanium general manager Joe Schwarz said in a telephone interview from here that he expected the ongoing feasibility study at the project to be concluded by early 2011. An estimated US$200 million (R1.3 billion) would then have to be raised next year to kick-start the mine.
The project on Kenya’s sweltering Indian Ocean coast has been held up for years by delays including demonstrations by environmental groups, disputes with local farmers over compensation for land, and drawn out talks with the government.
Schwarz added that so far Base Titanium had yet to sign agreements with buyers of its minerals, but added that the exports would likely be destined to China, the United States and Europe.
“Once we have the green light on the final investment decision, building the plant will take 18 to 21 months, and we would be able to start production in 2013,” he told Reuters. “There is a lot of interest and discussions on raising finances are progressing well.”
Schwarz said the mine would produce between 400 000 to 450 000tpa of refined minerals, which would bring in about US$100 million (R680 million) in annual revenues to the biggest East African economy, which has lacked a modern mining industry. The mine would have a processing plant to recover ilmenite, rutile and zircon from its mineral sands deposits
“Once completed, this will be the first large-scale mining project in Kenya, and it will be a beacon for attracting others into the sector,” Schwarz predicted. “The government is keen to modernise its laws, which would involve a new bill aimed at improving the sector.