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.
In February 2014, it was reported that Kenya had joined the league of mineral exporters with the first shipment of 25,000 tonnes of ilmenite to China, from Kwale Mineral Sands Project, owned by Base Titanium. The firm, the Kenyan subsidiary of the Australian company Base Resources, was granted an export licence.
Base Titanium made its first shipment of 25,000 tonnes of ilmenite — one of the major components found in the Titanium mineral ore — to China. Rough estimates show that 250,000 tonnes of Titanium ores will be eported per year from Kwale while some 3.2 billion tonnes of the same mineral deposits can be found in Kilifi area. The Kwale Sands is the first large mining development in Kenya since 1911.