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Base Titanium exploration works for additional mineral deposits in Kwale has run into headwinds after land owners in villages earmarked for drilling vowed not to surrender their land.
About 300 farmers, affected by the project, say there has been no meaningful engagement with the company and therefore, they will not allow exploration on their farms.
Base Titanium’s current reserves for the Kwale mine has a limited operational life. The company is seeking to identify additional mineral deposits that may lie in proximity to the existing operation.
Apart from the Special Mining Lease No 23 (SML), Base Titanium holds two prospecting licences (PL); PL/2018/0119 covering an area of 88 squared kilometres, which remains valid to May 25, 2021.
A second license, designated PL/2015/0042 and covering an area of 136km2, lying to the South west of PL/2018/0119 and extending towards the Tanzanian border, expires on December 4, 2021.
The local community has demanded to get compensation for the exploration on their farms and to know how much they will be paid incase there are commercially viable mineral deposits.
Tension remain high in several villages that have been earmarked for the exploration with the farmers asking the government not to extend the mining licences of the company.
Some of the villages where Base Titanium is seeking to undertake exploration are; Magaonip; Zigira; Masindeni; Majikuko; Fihoni; Madongoni; Fahamuni; Mchinjirini; and, Darugube.
On Monday, more than 300 farmers, who gathered at Magaoni Primary School for a meeting over the issue, were forced to flee for their safety after police stormed the venue and ordered them to disperse because they had not secured a permit for the gathering.
Kwale Land Owners Union secretary Mwalinyenze Hamisi accused Base Titanium of using intimidation to force farmers into surrendering their land for exploration.
Hamisi said that the company has a poor compensation plan and that is why they have refused to surrender their land for mining.