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The Kenyan Ministry of Mining has issued Australian firm Base Titanium with an export permit, which allows the company to export from its Kwale mineral sand project for the first time
Najib Balala, mining cabinet secretary, said the company would be exporting titanium feedstock, including 340,000 tonnes of ilmenite, 30,000 tonnes of zircon and 80,000 tonnes of rutile products, annually.
Base Titanium said it is aiming to export more than 450,000 tonnes of titanium minerals annually.
The first shipment of ilmenite, which was exported to China, weighed around 25,000 tonnes and the consignment was loaded onto the MV African ship at the company's US$28mn import facility in Likoni mainland, Mombasa.
Balala said the government had invested US$11mn in compensation and land allocation for the project. The country has 250mn tonnes of titanium deposits in Kwale and a 3.2bn tonnes in Kilifi, which is yet to be exploited, he added.
Joe Schwarz, external affairs general manager of Base Titanium, said the first shipment was a key indicator that Kenya was ready to venture into the mineral mining sector.
The company, with an investment base of US$297mn, is expected to contribute close to one per cent of annual gross domestic product (GDP) to Kenya's economy, with US$197mn in annual export revenue.
Geoff Tooth, Australian high commissioner to Kenya, noted the project is the biggest investment in the country by Australia yet, adding that Kenya is set to enjoy economic benefits from its mining sector.