Australian mining firm, Base Titanium has moved to clarify that they have undertaken an extensive community engagement programme that involved working closely with Kwale County leadership and administration officials prior to being granted with a mineral prospecting licence in December last year.
It is undertaking exploration programme as it seeks to discover additional mineral deposits with potent to expand the Kwale Mine life.
The new exploration license targeted areas around Vanga in Kwale County since its prospecting license PL/2015/0042 was issued by the Cabinet Secretary of Petroleum and Mining in December 2018.
As the first globally significant, large-scale mining project in Kenya, Base Titanium has opened up a new sector of the economy, propelling minerals into the top four export earners in the Country.
In a statement availed to The Standard, the firm stated that following the issuance of the license , Base Titanium carried out public awareness to inform the general public of what exploration is all about and its impact.
''These consultations were aimed at obtaining consent from landowners and residents. This a legal requirement and Base Titanium does not enter into someone’s property without consent,'' the statement said.
The firm added that community engagements in areas where Base Titanium is yet to drill have been ongoing.
''We thank all levels of Kwale leadership and local residents who have positively contributed to this new process,'' the firm said.
The Kwale Mine generated US$200 million in exports, of which US$107 million were to China which represents the bulk of Kenya’s exports.
The Project adds an estimated US$108 million to Kenya’s GDP annually and generates a total of US$186 million in economic output per year. Over the life of the mine the contribution to GDP will be close to US$1 billion.
“If successful, the mine will remain productive for a longer period as a development partner in Kwale County, thus allowing benefits to continue flowing to the National Government, the County and local communities by providing employment, bringing royalty and taxation revenues, contributing to community development programmes and stimulating wider economic activity,” Simon Wall, Base Titanium General Manager, External Affairs said in an earlier brief.
Base Titanium has been seeking to identify additional mineral deposits that may lie in proximity to the existing operation area following a 2015 airborne geophysical and radiometric survey that covered the south coast region from Likoni in Mombasa to Lunga Lunga.
This survey identified a series of potential exploration targets, subsequently confirmed through ground reconnaissance. The mining firms plans to drill in the localities of Kiwegu, Jego in Vanga ward before moving to Pongwe Kikoneni ward, then Dargube, Michingirini, Fahamuni among other areas in South East of Kwale towards the Tanzanian border.
Base Titanium Community Relations Manager, Mr Pius Kassim said the company was working on the ground with six local committees chosen by the communities which were overseeing the exploration exercise.
The exploration programme has also come with benefits of its own with the local community having gained employment in the drill sites.
“The exploration programme has also created 20-25 employment opportunities for local residents as well a number of business opportunities to supply goods and services. This ensures that benefits and opportunities are generated and felt,” Kassim said.
Results from the exploration will not be known for some time, as a thorough assessment and analysis of the samples must first be undertaken. Following this, Base Titanium plans to re-engage with local residents to communicate the findings.