| MOMBASA, Kenya
MOMBASA, Kenya Jan 7 Kenya's first exports of
titanium minerals will be shipped this month from its biggest
mine, with sales amounting to $4 million in January and
February, mine operator Base Resources said on Tuesday.
Kenya's first large-scale international mining project began
production in October after being delayed since 2006 due to cash
constraints, environmentalist protests, compensation disputes
with local farmers and government red tape.
The $305 million project is seen as integral to Kenya's
plans to derive a bigger share of earnings from its relatively
modest mining sector.
Joe Schwarz, general manager for external affairs and
development at Australian miner Base Resources, said the first
export shipment would be a containerised consignment of 100
tonnes of rutile, which would be followed by ilmenite in
The exports are awaiting permits from the Kenya government.
"The initial containerised consignment is being exported to
Japan. Other destinations include the U.S., Europe, China and
the Middle East," Schwarz said in an emailed statement.
He said that indicative market prices for titanium minerals
from the mine were $180 per tonne for ilmenite, $1,200 per tonne
for rutile and $1,000 per tonne for zircon.
Some 330,000 tonnes of ilmenite a year, about 10 percent of
world supply, will be produced at the mine, which is located
south of the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa.
The mine will also churn out 80,000 tonnes of rutile per
year, or about 14 percent of global output, and 30,000 tonnes of
zircon. The minerals are used as pigments in paper, plastics,
ceramics and titanium metal.
(Writing by James Macharia; editing by Jane Baird)