African mineral sands producer Base Resources plans to close operations at its Kwale Operations in Kenya in December 2024, with processing due to cease shortly thereafter.
The decision, which is in line with the existing mine plan, follows a thorough exploration and assessment process aimed at extending the operational life of the Kwale mine.
Following the assessments of the two remaining potential areas adjacent to the mine, it has been determined that both areas do not possess the necessary grade or size to support the capital investment needed to extend or establish new mining operations, the company said.
In a press statement, Base Resources said: “Additional key factors considered in the company’s evaluations included the softening product price outlook for mineral sands over the relevant period, and the cost, timing and human impact of a substantial land acquisition and community resettlement programme.”
Based on these assessments, the company plans to cease operations at the mine when the existing Kwale ore reserves are fully depleted by December 2024 as expected.
Base Resources managing director Tim Carstens said: “We have explored all avenues for further extending the life of Kwale operations. However, despite these efforts and broad support from the local community, we have been unsuccessful in identifying additional mineral deposits of sufficient grade or scale to support a further extension.
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“The company’s focus at Kwale now necessarily turns to detailed closure planning and transition to post-mining land use whilst ensuring we continue to safely extract maximum value from the remaining ore reserves.”
The local Kenyan subsidiary of Base Resources, Base Titanium owns the Kwale mineral sands mine, which started production in late 2013.
Base Resources now plans to focus on the development of the Toliara rare earth project in south-west Madagascar, Kenya.