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Kwale Mineral Sands Operations

Kwale Mineral Sands Operations

Kwale Mineral Sands Operations

Overview
Base Resources wholly-owned subsidiary, Base Titanium Limited, operates the 100% owned Kwale Mineral Sands Operations in Kenya, which commenced production in late 2013. Kwale is located 10 kilometres inland from the Kenyan coast and 50 kilometres south of Mombasa, the principal port facility for East Africa. The project was acquired by Base in 2010. Following the completion of feasibility study enhancements and financing, development of Kwale commenced in October 2011. The Project is based on a mine life of 13 years, and features a high grade ore body with a high value mineral assemblage. Over the first six years, production is expected to ramp up to produce an annual average of 80,000 tonnes of rutile, 360,000 tonnes of ilmenite and 30,000 tonnes of zircon, making Base a globally significant producer of mineral sands products.

Kwale_Location

Mining and Processing
The mining operations at Kwale are based on a conventional dozer trap mining unit (DMU), using Caterpillar D11T dozers to feed the DMU. The DMU is a cost effective method of mining, which is particularly well suited to the type of ore at Kwale. During Kwale’s 13 year mine life, Base expects to mine and process 140mt of ore, and produce 4.6mt of final product for sale.

Kwale is designed to process ore to recover three separate products – ilmenite, rutile and zircon. Ore is received at the wet concentrator plant (WCP) from the DMU via a slurry pipeline. The WCP removes slimes at a particle size less than 45μm, concentrates the valuable heavy minerals (ilmenite, rutile and zircon) and rejects most of the non-valuable, lighter gangue minerals. The WCP incorporates a number of gravity separation steps using spiral concentrators. The heavy mineral concentrate (HMC), containing 90 per cent heavy minerals, is then processed in the mineral separation plant (MSP).

The MSP cleans and separates the ilmenite, rutile and zircon minerals and removes any remaining gangue. This is accomplished by a combination of attritioning, electrostatic separation, magnetic separation, classification and gravity separation. The ilmenite and most of the rutile produced is then transported in bulk to Base’s own Likoni Port facility. The balance of the rutile and all of the zircon produced is containerised prior to transporting to the main Mombasa container port.

Transport and Infrastructure
A key feature of the Kwale Operation is its proximity to well-developed existing physical infrastructure. To support the mining operation, Base has constructed several additional dedicated infrastructure elements.

In late 2013, construction of a purpose built marine facility was completed at Likoni, south of Mombasa. The fully owned and operated port facility includes a storage shed capable of holding in excess of 80,000 tonnes and a 1,000 tonnes per hour ship loader. The loading facility provides access to the existing shipping channel associated with the main Mombasa port, which is the primary terminal for East Africa. Containerised rutile and zircon are exported through the main Mombasa container port.

Base also completed construction of an eight kilometre paved access road, which connects the mine site to the main coastal highway running between Mombasa and northern Tanzania. The bulk product is hauled 50 kilometres by truck from Kwale along this route to the port facility at Likoni.

Water is a key input for mineral sands projects. Supply for the Kwale Operation comes from the dedicated Mukurumudzi Dam constructed by Base and completed in the second half of 2013, providing 8.6 gigalitres of water storage. The south coast of Kenya enjoys two wet seasons annually. In addition, a borefield accessing a local aquifer has been constructed to provide a supplementary supply in the event of prolonged drought conditions.

Power for Kwale is supplied from the Kenyan grid via a Base-constructed, 132kVA power line from the Galu substation just 16 kilometres from the Kwale Operations site. The power line was commissioned in 2013 and the reliability of the supply has proved to be excellent with negligible downtime from outages or voltage dips.

For up to date information on the Kwale Mineral Sands Operations please follow this link to the Base Titanium website.