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Mining company Base Titanium has applied for a permit to export products from its Kwale Mineral Sands mining project in Kenya

rob lavinsky-zirconBase Titanium has planned its first export shipment of zircon to Japan. (Image source: Rob Lavinsky/Wikimedia Commons)

According to the Star, Base Titanium general manager (external affairs and development) Joe Schwarz, said the company has spoken to Kenya’s Ministry of Mining and hopes to ship out a small container of zircon minerals by the end of this year.

The first shipment will be to Japan.

The Kwale Mineral Sands Project, with a mine life of 13 years, is located some 50 km south of Mombasa. Base Titanium, which operates the licence, began operations at the mine in October this year and announced plans to produce 330,000 tonnes of ilmenite, 80,000 tonnes of rutile and 30,000 tonnes of zircon per annum.

The mining project is expected to generate revenue of over US$900mn for Base Titanium, after debt repayments.

“Our Likoni mainland port facility is complete and will be used for high tonnage bulk shipments of minerals, which will begin in early 2014. The second shipment will comprise 100 tonnes of rutile and ilmenite products. We already have customers in China and Europe, among other markets, waiting for our products,” said Schwarz.

Until now, Base Titanium has invested about US$300mn in Kenya’s mining industry and has been estimated to contribute about one per cent towards the nation’s annual GDP, through its exports.

According to the Ministry of Mining, production of ilmenite, rutile and zircon from the Kwale mines will account for 14 per cent of the global supply in the near term.