Home » How Base Titanium Transformed Kwale County and Restored the Environment

How Base Titanium Transformed Kwale County and Restored the Environment

A decade of mining and rehabilitating the land in Kwale County

by Motoni Olodun

Base Titanium Limited, a world-class mineral sands operator, is set to exit Kwale County in 2024 after a decade of mining activities that have brought significant benefits to the local community and the national economy. The Australian company has been extracting ilmenite, rutile, and zircon from the Kwale Mineral Sands Project since 2013, creating thousands of jobs and improving livelihoods in the region.

The company has also been committed to restoring the mined areas to their natural state, using innovative techniques and best practices to ensure the land can serve other purposes in the future. Base Titanium has so far rehabilitated more than 200 hectares of land, planting forest, grass, and indigenous trees, as well as testing various crops that can grow on the amended soil.

According to Simon Wall, the External Affairs Manager at Base Titanium, the company has a policy to leave the land as it was before the mining processes. “This is to allow it to serve other purposes in the future,” he said. “Our rehabilitation activities are focused on reforestation, increasing biodiversity, and developing agricultural opportunities for our host communities.”

Wall said the company uses water instead of chemicals to extract the minerals, which prevents soil contamination and makes the rehabilitation process easier. He added that the company works closely with the National Museums of Kenya and the African Butterfly Research Institute to monitor the flora and fauna species in the rehabilitated areas.

The company’s efforts have been recognized by various environmental awards, such as the Presidential Award for Environmental Excellence in 2018 and the Mining Journal’s Environmental and Social Responsibility Award in 2019.

Base Titanium’s exit from Kwale County will mark the end of its first and only mission in Kenya, as it has exhausted all the minerals in the licensed areas. The company is expected to close shop by late 2024, after mining the South Dune extension, Kwale North, and Bumamani reserves.

This will have a significant impact on the company’s employees, most of whom are expected to be out of work by next year. Wall said the company has increased its counseling programs to help the affected staff cope with the situation and find alternative employment. He said the company is also looking for international referrals for some of its employees who have specialized skills.

The exit will also affect the host communities, who have enjoyed various social and economic benefits from the company’s presence. Base Titanium has invested heavily in infrastructure, education, health, water, agriculture, and business development projects in Kwale County, as well as providing food donations and scholarships to the locals.

The company has also contributed to the national revenue through taxes and royalties, as well as supporting the government’s agenda on the Big Four, Vision 2030, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Base Titanium has been the largest exporter in Kenya for the past six years, accounting for over 60% of the country’s mineral output.

As the company prepares to leave, it has made some proposals to the government on how to utilize the rehabilitated land for the benefit of the people and the environment. These include projects on agriculture, plant and industrial training, a nature park, and several other options.

Wall said the company hopes that the government will adopt some of these proposals and ensure that the land does not go to waste. He also expressed his gratitude to the government, the county, the community, and other stakeholders for their support and cooperation during the company’s operations in Kwale.

“We are proud of what we have achieved together and we hope that our legacy will live on,” he said.

Source: MSN

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