NAIROBI - Kenya's titanium exports decreased in the second quarter of 2019 compared to a similar period last year due to closure of a mine, the industry said on Thursday.
Base Titanium, which operates the Kwale mineral sands project, said in a statement that ilmenite exports, which contains titanium decreased to 99,620 tons for the second quarter compared to 107,170 tons in a similar period in 2018.
"The main focus for the quarter was the successful relocation of mining operations to the South Dune orebody in June, following depletion of the Central Dune. During this period, the mineral separation plant operated on stockpiled heavy mineral concentrate to ensure uninterrupted production," the firm said.
According to Base Titanium, which is a subsidiary of Australian mining giant Bases, the Kwale mineral sands project, contains 134 million tones of resources as at June 2018.
Between April and June, Base Titanium said, it also exported 31,889 tons of rutile which contains titanium oxide down from 25,635 tons in a similar period last year.
The mining firm, also recorded exports of 7,968 tons of Zircon in the second quarter of 2019 compared to 9,007 tons between April and June 2018. The mining firm noted that an emerging ilmenite deficit in the international market being created by strong demand and supply restrictions has resulted in a strengthening ilmenite price through the second quarter.
"Demand for Base Titanium's ilmenite from existing customers remains greater than the company's ability to supply and there has been a significant increase in enquiries from new customers globally," the company said.