Australia-based mining firm Base Titanium has secured a licence to explore an expanded area of land surrounding its Kwale mineral sands operations in Kenya.

The exploration will enable Base to extend the Kwale project’s mine life.

Base Resources further expects to begin a drilling programme in the September quarter of this year, which follows an airborne geophysics programme conducted in 2015.

The programme covered the south coast region of Kenya from Mombasa to the Tanzanian border, and identified a series of exploration targets that were subsequently confirmed through ground reconnaissance.

The initial drill programme will consist of up to 18,000m of aircore drilling.

"Kwale is at steady state production, having mined 22.2 million tonnes since commissioning in October 2013."

Base Resources’ special prospecting licence 173 (SPL 173) now covers an area of 177km².

The company has also applied for an additional SPL covering an area of 136km², extending south west from SPL 173 towards the Tanzanian border.

This licence application has been approved by the Kenyan Ministry of Mining licensing committee and is advancing through the granting process.

Base Resources managing director Tim Carstens said: "With Kwale at steady state production and having mined 22.2 million tonnes since commissioning in October 2013, we are excited by the prospectivity of the new tenement area and the potential to further extend the mine life of the Kwale Operations."

The Kwale SPL consists of three mineralised zones, the central, south and north dunes, which occur as unconsolidated dunes.

Image: The expanded SPL173 surrounding current mining lease. Photo: courtesy of Base Resources Limited.