Kenya: Mangroves threatened by Canadian mining company

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The Kenyan coast is estimated to hold more than 10% of the world's unexplored deposits of titanium, a metal used in the pigment industry, and increasingly in the manufacture of many objects of modern life. A drilling recently performed in the Kwale area delineated a reserve of 150 million tons of sands containing rutile, ilmenite and zircon, the minerals used to make titanium.

This is very bad news for local communities living along the mangrove coast nearby Mombasa, such as those of Tsunza village, which are being threatened by a planned massive titanium mining development by a Canadian firm. The possible transformation of thousands of acres of farms and forests on the Kenyan coast into a titanium mine has sparked criticism among local community leaders. Since foreign companies operating in the mining sector in the South do not adhere to the same business and environmental standards as in their home countries, it is feared that the project will cause the rapid destruction of this valuable ecosystem. The Canadian mining industry in particular has expanded significantly overseas during the past decade provoking severe impacts both on forests and forest peoples (detailed in "Undermining the Forests. The need to control transnational mining companies: a Canadian case study", available from the Forest Peoples Programme at ).

Article based on information from: Late Friday News 70th Edition, September 2000; e-mail: For more information, contact Mr. Ted Kombo of the Tsunza Conservation and Community Development Programme.