13 February 2014

Kenya Makes First Export of Ilmenite to China

Nairobi — The Ministry of Mining has issued Australian firm Base Titanium with an export permit that will see the company export from its Kwale mineral sand project to China.

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the company will be exporting Titanium feedstocks that include 340,000 metric tonnes of Ilmenite, 30,000 of Zircon and 80,000 metric tonnes of rutile products annually.

The company targets to export over 450,000 metric tonnes of titanium minerals annually.

Balala was speaking on Thursday during the commissioning of the first shipment of 25,000 tonnes of Ilmenite being exported to China.

The consignment was loaded onto the MV African ship at the company's Sh2.5 billion port facility at Likoni mainland in the coastal city of Mombasa before it was flagged off.

Balala said the project is historic having taken 18 years before the realisation of the first export, pointing out that the government was committed to supporting investors.

He said the government had invested Sh1 billion on compensation and land allocation for the project.

According to Balala, the country has 250 million tonnes of titanium deposits in Kwale and a vast 3.2 billion tonnes in Kilifi which is yet to be exploited.

On his part, Base Titanium External Affairs General Manager Joe Schwarz said the first shipment is a key indicator that Kenya was ready to venture into the mineral mining sector.

The company, with an investment base of Sh25.7 billion, is expected to contribute close to one percent annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to the country's economy with Sh17.1 billion in annual export revenue.

Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Geoff Tooth noted that the project is the biggest investment in the country by Australia saying Kenya is set to enjoy economic benefits from its mining sector.

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