By PATRICK BEJA
Optimism is high in Kwale County as construction of infrastructure for Kenya’s largest mining project reaches 32 per cent completion, a year after start of works.
The Standard has learnt that some of the machines for the mineral processing plant have been procured and construction has begun at the site in Msambweni.
It is a beehive of activity at the designated mining site at Maumba area in Msambweni District. The construction phase for the titanium mining project has seen 1,000 people employed while 350 direct jobs will be created while mining operations start in September next year.
Base Titanium has raised about Sh31 billion to undertake the development of the Kwale mineral sands project that was acquired from Tiomin Resources of Canada.
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Mr Joe Schwarz, general manager for external affairs and development, said the construction works were launched in October last year after completion of project financing.
In a statement, Mr Schwarz said a total of about Sh25 billion was being used to develop the project. According to Schwarz, a power line from Galu to the mine site has already been completed and construction of the Mukurumudzi dam as the primary water source for the project is halfway complete.
The parliamentary committee on Land and Natural Resources has endorsed the mining project, saying it has so far met environmental and compensation requirements.
Mumias MP Benjamin Washiali who led a parliamentary delegation to the Kwale mines recently said the project under Vision 2030 flagship projects would encourage the aspect of mining in Kenya. “At face value, we are satisfied with the issue of environment and compensation. We urge the local community to support the project,” Washiali said.
Shinyalu MP Justus Kizito said the parliamentary committee wanted to see more development of mining projects in the near future.
It is estimated that the mines would have Sh21 billion export value per annum. The total contribution from minerals may increase to Sh28 billion per annum elevating the sector contribution to export earnings to fourth place above coffee.
“All necessary permits, licences and authorisations have been received from the Government,” Schwarz said. After Kwale, he said, Base Titanium would look to develop some of the other mineral sands prospects.