Titanium miner claims Sh20bn refund from KRA

A worker at a Base Titanium Mining site in Kwale. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

What you need to know:

  • KRA is yet to pay Australian mining firm Base Resources more than Sh20 billion as tax refunds.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is yet to pay Australian mining firm Base Resources more than Sh20 billion as tax refunds since the company started operations in the country about nine years ago.

According to the company’s latest report, the miner has only received Sh3.5 billion before closure of government’s fiscal year ending June 2019.

“Base Resources has a refund claims for VAT paid in Kenya relating to both construction of the Kwale project and the period since operations commenced. These claims are proceeding through the KRA process and Base Resources is continuing to engage with the Kenyan Treasury and the KRA to expedite the refunds,” says the company’s second quarter activities report.

The firm paid Sh1.1 billion tax and royalties to the government in the six months ended December 2018.

It recorded a 26.1 percent jump in the value of titanium exports from its Kwale mine to Sh7 billion in the quarter ended June, helped by higher prices of the commodity in the international markets.

Base Resources took over mining rights from Tiomin Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of Tiomin Resources Incorporated in Canada, in July 2010 before injecting about Sh16 billion to revive the business.

In its report, Base announced increasing demand of ilmenite due to restriction on supply resulting in high price of the ore.

“Demand for Base Titanium’s ilmenite from existing customers remain greater than the company’s ability to supply and there has been a significant increase of inquiries from new customers globally,” says the report released last week.

Production of its three main products rutile, ilmenite and zircon improved significantly and was within the company’s range despite spending months relocating to a new mining site.

The transition involved relocating the hydraulic mining units, construction of a pipe bridge across the Mukurumudzi Dam spillway, supply and installation of 7,400 metres of slurry and water piping, and installation of a 8,500 metre 11kV power line.

Titanium mineral ores accounted for 66.1 percent of the total mineral value in the country's output as titanium products export price per tonne rose by 5.5 percent to Sh27,249 last year, according to the 2019 Economic Survey.