Base Titanium is set to begin prospecting for more minerals in Kwale County.
This follows approval by the Kenya Mineral Rights Board (MRB), paving the way for the firm to start exploratory drilling.
“Our application for the licence to explore additional mineral resources was before the Mining Rights Board for review and last year around November the board issued a recommendation for us to be issued with the licence,” said the Australian mining company’s general manager for external affairs and development, Joe Schwarz, at a press briefing in Nairobi yesterday.
The licence is one of the first to be issued under the new Mining Act 2016 and by the new board inaugurated in July last year.
Under Section 31 of the Mining Act 2016, the nine-member board is tasked with advising and giving recommendations to the Cabin secretary on granting, rejection, retention, renewal, suspension, revocation, or trading of mineral rights.
“We believe the Ministry of Mining will grant us the licence following the board’s recommendation,” said Mr Schwarz, clarifying that the licence was not for mining as earlier alleged, but only for exploration.
Base Titanium is the country’s largest exporter of mineral resources, accounting for up to 60 per cent of Kenya’s minerals in 2016, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
The company’s performance in the last quarter remained consistent, with total mined tonnage standing at 2.9 million tonnes, which was marginally lower than the three million tonnes recorded in the previous quarter.
Mr Schwarz said the positive performance had been on account of improving prices in the international market.