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Mining firm puts Kwale work on hold

Base Titanium plant in Kwale County. The firm recently obtained new operating licences to expand its exploration activities in the county. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

 

Mining firm Base Titanium has put off mineral exploration plans in Kwale County over what it says are rising political temperatures in the country.

The firm said it will have to wait until next year to explore potential finds in consultation with winners of the upcoming polls and local communities.

“Political tensions made drilling in the North Eastern sector untenable. Our intentions are to engage the communities and ask for consent after the elections,” Base Titanium External Affairs Manager Simon Wall said in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Awaiting nod

During the first quarter of this year, the firm managed to drill 773 holes prospecting for further mineral finds beyond its areas of operations. The firm has reported finds of potential deposits in Eastern sections, South Western sections and Magisini area.

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Base Titanium has already applied for a special prospecting licence towards the Tanzanian border and has been given the green light by the Mining Ministry.

The company is, however, awaiting the nod from the Mineral Rights Board, which was only recently constituted.

“Regulations on licensing and permitting are still in Parliament and we are hoping they will be through by May this year so we can oprationalise the licence,” said Mr Wall.

Base Titanium has also received five prospecting licences from Tanzanian authorities and plans drilling across all five blocks by September this year.

During the first quarter, the company’s production fell from three million tonnes to 2.6 million tonnes.

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