Titanium explorer, Base Titanium is now awaiting approval of an exportation license from the Ministry of Mining for it to make its first shipment of 100 tonnes of the rare earth being mined at Kwale in Coastal Kenya.
The firm, a subsidiary of Australian Base Resources is said to have 25,000 tonnes of the mineral in store but cannot export until the ministry has approved its request for license submitted on December 6th.
The company which started production in October last year is said to have invested about Ksh27 billion to construct infrastructure to process titanium ore from sand dune deposits. It has a storage depot in Likoni with a capacity of 55,000 tonnes.
The ore consists of heavy metals that include mineral ilmenite that is used in the manufacture of titanium dioxide pigment for white paints. Ilmenite with retiles is used for coating welding rods. Zircon, another mineral extracted from sand dunes, due to its ability to withstand very high temperatures is made into bricks and cement used in foundries and furnaces for making aluminum and glass.
Estimates by the firm show that they could produce up to 330,000 tonnes of ilmenite a year, about 10 per cent of the global supply. The firm also expects to produce 80,000 tonnes of retile per year,14 per cent of global output and 30,000 tonnes of zircon.