In an exclusive interview, Joe Schwarz, general manager of external affairs and development at Base Titanium discusses the company’s achievement highlights at its Kwale minerals sand operation in Kenya.
In July 2017 the Kwale project was awarded official flagship status by Kenya’s Vision 2030.
This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 10 2018
This is a proud achievement for the company and represents a significant milestone in the partnership between the government of Kenya and Base Titanium, the local subsidiary and operating entity of Base Resources, in promoting further development of the sector.
Company and project highlights
There have been many stand out highlights since acquiring and developing the Kwale mine – the rapid and successful development of Kenya’s first large-scale, modern mining project, plant commissioning and ramp up, a justifiably proud safety record, upskilling and developing our Kenyan workforce and our community development programmes.
To this list can be added environmental rehabilitation.
Ensuring a safe workplace always comes first. Creating, maintaining and continuously improving a safe and healthy working environment for Base Titanium and communities forms a cornerstone of its corporate culture.
The last lost time injury was recorded 43 months ago and 10.4 million injury-free man hours have been worked since.
This impressive safety record is not left to chance. It is testament to continuous training, hazard identification and elimination and awareness – a culture that is deeply ingrained and continually reinforced.
Located in Kwale County, the mine is Kenya’s first large-scale mining operation and the county’s first industrial development. Despite limited skills availability, through Base Titanium’s prioritised employment system and heavy investment in training, 65% of employees working at the sites are local.
To further ensure transfer of skills and develop manpower for the mining sector, Base Titanium works closely with local educational and training institutions to implement a number of external training opportunities including graduate, apprenticeship and internship programmes.
Through these Base Titanium is exposing Kenya’s youth to skills needed for employment in a new sector in Kenya and equipping them with the skills necessary to drive its growth.
Also strongly highlighted are Base Titanium's community programmes, which include provision of social infrastructure, investing in sustainable livelihood programmes centred on agriculture and a variety of health and education programmes.
Base Titanium’s message at Kenya Mining Forum
As the returning exclusive diamond sponsors of the Kenya Mining Forum, taking place in Nairobi in November, Base Titanium’s key message is to show the world what is possible to achieve in Kenya.
By showcasing the successful development and operation of the Kwale mine and the strong cooperation and commitment received from the government of Kenya, Base Titanium hopes to be viewed as a catalyst for further investment in the country’s mining sector.
Another key message is to demonstrate to potential investors the efforts being undertaken by the government to facilitate growth of the mining sector.
Central to this is the Mining Act 2016, but other initiatives are equally important; for example, the plan to conduct an aerial geophysical survey, the huge investments being made in infrastructure and the drive to lower the cost of energy through increased production and improved delivery.