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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Environmental Impact Assessment of the Proposed Titanium Mining Project in Kwale District, Kenya
Author:Abuodha, J.O.Z.
Periodical:Marine Georesources and Geotechnology
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Metals - titanium
Kwale - district
Environment - assessment
Abstract:This article addresses both environmental and socioeconomic issues concerned with the development or operation of the envisaged titanium mining project in Kwale District of Kenya. TIOMIN Resources Inc., of Canada, through its wholly owned Kenyan subsidiary, Kenya Titanium Minerals Ltd., is proposing to develop a titanium sands mine and mineral processing plants which will produce high grades of heavy minerals including rutile, ilmenite, and zircon. In addition, TIOMIN has proposed to develop a ship loading facility at Shimoni, a significant marine habitat in Kenya. When properly designed and implemented, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a powerful tool for ensuring that environmental issues are given due consideration during project design, allowing the benefits of the project to be maximized, while reducing the environmental and social costs of development. In Kenya, the EIA has to be conducted according to the requirements of the Kenya Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (2000) and in compliance with World Bank standards. An EIA document submitted to the enforcement authority, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), enables the issuing of an Environmental Impact Assessment License and a Mining License. A number of exploration studies have been undertaken and several sites have been identified for the extraction of titanium minerals and zircon. Many have expressed concern that environmental matters should be considered before a decision about titanium mining is undertaken. Toxic chemicals used in heavy mineral separation processes and disturbance or redistribution of sediment could spell a disaster for the coastal waters. The Wasini channel is home to world class coral reefs, humpback and spotted dolphins, and marine turtles. Another contentious issue is that of radioactivity associated with the minerals zircon and monazite. The coastal zone is a crucial part of the economy, as it supplies a living for a large number of people along the coast. It is envisaged that involuntary resettlement without adequate compensation and viable alternative sites may result in serious socioeconomic consequences. (Journal Abstract).