Last update:
2015-12-30

Titanium Mining in the Kwale District, Kenya

After years of local struggle against a mining project for ilmenite for titanium, exports to China have started in 2014.


Description:

After years of negotiations, the Government of Kenya approved the project presented by the Canadian company Tiomin Resources Inc. for the exploitation of titanium deposits located in the Kwale region. A coalition formed of local communities and human rights organizations called Coast Mining Rights Forum opposed the mega-project, as it called for the displacement of 5,000 indigenous Digo and Kamba people and would contaminate local soil and aquifers with heavy metals. In 2008-09, the Tiomin company tried to sell the rights to Jinchuan, a Chinese company. The project, started in 2013, led to forced displacements.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Titanium Mining in the Kwale District, Kenya
Country:Kenya
State or province:Coast
Location of conflict:Kwale
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Titanium ores
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Yearly extraction of 330 000 tons of ilmenite, plus rutile and zircon. This project for mining mineral sands is geared to production of titanium.

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Project area:6400
Level of Investment:350,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:Tiomin Resources Inc from Canada
Jinchuan Group Co. Ltd from China
Base Resources Limited from Australia
Relevant government actors:Kenyan Government, NEMA - Kenya
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:CRF - Kenya, Kwale Farmers Movement - Kenya, ActionAid Kenya
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Migration/displacement
Development of alternatives:The residents want to retrieve of their lands or a higher compensation, and the NGOs dont want the project because it would pollute the area and it is potentially dangerous for peoples health.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The Government of Kenya allowed the company Tiomin to grab the lands of native people and the project was planned to start without an EIA undertaken by Kenyan specialists. In 2014, exports to China of ilmenite sands for titanium started.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Mining Act

Land Acquisition Act.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Base Resources project in Kwale
[click to view]

L'Africa del tesoro. Masto, Raffaele. Ed. Sperling and Kupfer. 2006.
[click to view]

What in a Coconut? An Ethnoecological Analysis of Mining, Social Displacement, Vulnerability, and Development in Rural Kenya, Africa, W. O. Abuya, African Studies Quaterly, November 2013
[click to view]

Newspaper reports February 2014, first exports of ilmenite sands from Kwale for titanium, to China.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Court restrains agency from licensing Tiomin, MAC, 03/03/2003
[click to view]

Kwale mineral sands project suffering delays in troubled Kenya, budget cut, Mining weekly, January 2008
[click to view]

Tiomin confident of $200m titanium deal in Kenya, Daily Nation, November 2008
[click to view]

County mining tax plans anger Kenya government, Business Daily, 15/10/2014
[click to view]

Kenya: Canadian titanium mining challenged by new government, World Rainforest Movement, April 2003
[click to view]

Other documents

The Base Resources titanium mining site in Kwale businessdailyafrica Photo/FILE
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update30/12/2015
Comments
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