By Caroline Njenga
NAIROBI, The government will soon embark on an exercise to map Kenya’s mineral and extractive resources to help identify the locations and sizes of new mineral deposits, says Mining Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Dan Kazungu.
Such in-depth geological surveys will help in providing information about the country’s diverse mineral resources for the benefit of local and foreign investors, he said during a visit to the operations of Base Titanium Limited in Kwale County at the southeastern corner of the country.
Base Titanium is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Australian and Britain-listed resources company, Base Resources Limited and its flagship development is the Kwale Mineral Sands Project in Kwale County, 50 kilometres south of the Kenyan port city of Mombasa.
Kenya was not previously considered a mineral-rich country but this changed after recent discoveries of commercially viable crude oil and gas, rare minerals in Lamu and coal deposits in Kitui and Kwale counties.
The discoveries have helped increase investor interest in Kenya and in order to help fast-track mineral exploitation, the government plans to embark on large scale minerals and extractive resource mapping across the country.
Kazungu said mapping process would help attract exploration companies to Kenya, noting the need to develop maps and other data to assist government agencies, mining companies, consultants and the public in recognizing, developing and protecting important mineral resources.
He said only four per cent of the country’s territory had been mapped since independence, making it difficult to know how endowed Kenya is in terms of minerals.
A new mining law would be enacted soon to provide policy stability and level the playing field for industry players, he added.
Among minerals found in Kenya are coal, gypsum, fluorspar, rubies, Zircon gemstone, gold, sapphires, silver, titanium and manganese.