News Column

Base Titanium to Increase Factory Production

May 5, 2014

Martin Mwita

AUSTRALIAN mining company Base Titanium expects to go into full mineral production in the next three months.

The company has so far made three major shipments of ilmenite, rutile and last month's export of the first zircon minerals from its Maumba mining site in Kwale.

Base Titanium External Affairs General Manager Joe Schwarz yesterday said the company is yet to reach full production, but remains keen on hitting the full production stage as the country ventures into the mineral mining sector.

Speaking to the Star on phone yesterday, Schwarz said the company is currently on the "ramp-up" stage.

"We are currently ramping up production as we look forward into full capacity production in the next three or so months. It takes a process and a lot of work for someone to be in full production but we are working hard to achieve it," said Schwarz.

The company made its first shipment on February 18, exporting Kenya's first titanium minerals - 25,000 tonnes of ilmenite worth at an estimated Sh387 million to China.

The second shipment was made in mid-February which saw the company ship 20,000 tonnes of ilmenite worth an estimated Sh 311 million.

The first batch of rutile and Zircon left the country last month with base titanium exporting 7,000 tonnes of rutile in bulk.

Zircon was 100 percent containerized and was shipped through the Kenya ports authority according Schwarz.

Total exports of eliminate now stands at around 45,300 tonnes for the first two shipments with payment for the first ilmenite sale having being received in March this year.

"We embarked on a dynamic production and separation of minerals after our first shipment in February and have finally seen the other two categories of minerals go out. We are at the peak of production with regular shipments and we hope we will be getting the shipments done on time," said Schwarz.

He noted that the exports have put Kenya on the global map on mineral production.

With the commencement of rutile and zircon sales, the company has now confirmed to have completed the mineral production transition.

"Operations have now completed the transition from construction project to operating mine successfully producing all products to specification," Schwarz said.

The company, with an investment base of 300 million dollars in the mining sector, is expected to contribute close to 1 percent annual GDP to the country's economy with 200 million dollars in annual export revenue.

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Source: AllAfrica

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