Base Resources posts record quarterly rutile production in Kenya

NAIROBI, July 25 (Reuters) – Base Titanium, a subsidiary of Australian junior miner Base Resources Ltd, said on Wednesday that it posted record quarterly production of the mineral rutile in Kenya.

Base Titanium said it produced 24,451 tonnes of the mineral, which is used to make refractory ceramics and titanium metal, compared with 22,762 tonnes in the same period last year.

The mineral sands producer, Kenya's first large mining operation, said it had enhanced its mineral separation plant capacity, allowing it to produce record amounts of rutile in the quarter that ended in June.

Production of ilmenite declined from 119,364 tonnes in the April-June 2017 quarter to 114,773 tonnes in the same period this year. That of zircon increased from 8,375 tonnes in April-June 2017 to 9,286 tonnes in the same period this year, the company said in its quarterly report.

Ilmenite is used in the manufacture of titanium dioxide, which is used in making paints, fabrics, plastics, paper, sunscreen, food and cosmetics. Zircon is used to make ceramics and pottery.

Base Titanium's mine is located in Kwale county, on Kenya's south coast.

The $305 million project is seen as an important part of the country's plan to improve its relatively small and underdeveloped mining sector.

Base Titanium has five licences for prospecting in northern Tanzania, it said, and it has undertaken drilling in all the relevant areas but after analysis of the samples it retrieved, it is unlikely to conduct further exploration.

"On Tanzania, (analysis shows) that the licence areas that we hold do not contain significant or sufficient mineral potential," Simon Wall, the company's external affairs manager, said in a conference call.

(Reporting by Carlos Mureithi; Editing by Dale Hudson)