AUSTRALIAN mining company Base Titanium has started transporting its ilmenite minerals from Maumba mining site to Likoni port. The minerals will be stored at Likoni port as the mining company awaits exportation permit from the Ministry of Mining early February.
Ac- cording to the company's general manager for external affairs and development Joe Schwarz, production of minerals is currently taking place.
He said the mineral being ferried to Likoni port will be stored until it is enough for export. "Currently there are vehicles which ferries the produced mineral from Maumba to Likoni port facility for storage and that will continue until we have 25,000 tonnes which can then be exported as we wait for export permit from Ministry of Mining," he said.
"We have already applied for export permit but you see it was holiday period and may be after the holiday we will get it and start exporting." Recently, the company said it will use the normal Kenya Ports Authority terminal for its first shipment of rutile which will be packed in containers and loaded into a ship.
He said the first shipment will be headed for Japan. "Ilmenite shipment will be in bulk and will be shipped through the company's Sh2.5 billion port facility at the Likoni mainland by the end of January," he added. He said that production of Zircon is not yet but will start next month.
Schwarz said that only one ship will be docking at a time once they have enough minerals for export. "A ship cannot come and wait for minerals to be ready for export. Once we are ready, a ship will come to ex- port the minerals," he said.
The company, with an investment base of $300 million (Sh25.7 billion) in the mining sector, is expected to contribute close to one per cent annual GDP to the country's economy with $200 million (Sh17.1 billion) in annual export revenue.
Kwale sand project puts Kenya among top producers of ilmenite, rutile and zircon. Minerals from Kwale are expected to account for 14 per cent of global supply, and only second to South Africa on the continent.