We maintain readiness to accelerate progress [on Toliara] when conditions support..
GO back a few years and early-stage modelling would have had the Kwale mineral resources in Kenya exhausted by now. But in the past 12 months Kwale’s owner, Base Resources, has managed to push out the mine life, this time to the end of 2023, as well as extend the mining permit. Will there be further life extensions in due course? Kwale will have to come to an end at some stage, but don’t rule it out short term given the results of the recent pre-feasibility study at Kwale’s nearby Bumamani prospect.
All told, Base has done a decent job, with Kwale helping to put Kenya’s mining sector on the map, especially for juniors. But bigger pickings lie further afield; in Madagascar, to be exact, where the firm has the $596m Toliara Sands on its books. The project was suspended in late 2019 after the Malagasy government asked for new fiscal terms. A combination of Covid-19 travel disruptions and the to-be-expected lengthy process of engaging government has resulted in very little development since then, although Carstens’ team has been able to update the feasibility report. 2022 ought to deliver a new fiscal plan and allow the company to press on with its best project.
The titanium market is strong now owing to high paint pigment production. That’s been reflected in a strong financial performance, enabling Base to end its 2021 financial year with $65m in cash after paying out $56.4m in dividends. Being debt-free is critical as Base sets about financing Toliara, though it’s a pity the project isn’t yet in construction phase.