The Government will continue to undertake far-reaching reforms to streamline Kenya’s growing mining sector as part of a long-term goal of transforming and positioning the country as a preferred destination for regional and international mineral investors.
Principal Secretary (PS) State Department for Mining Elijah Mwangi termed the mining sector in Kenya as the next frontier of economic growth stating that the comprehensive reforms currently underway would further spur the anticipated growth in mineral exploration and exploitation.
Speaking during the inaugural Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Mining Stakeholders Forum, the PS stated that the government was implementing reforms and adopting strategies that were geared towards opening up the entire value-chain of the mining sector to investors.
“We are happy that the steps we are taking to reform this critical sector are yielding results but our commitment is to revolutionize the entire mining industry and position it as one of the key pillars for country’s economy,” he said.
The forum comes barely a fortnight after the government declared discovery of significant deposits of Coltan mineral in Kiambere area in Embu County. Other deposits were also found in Turkana, Tana River and Kitui counties.
The PS disclosed that the mining department had embarked on digitization of critical services in a move aimed at entrenching transparency in the sector and bolster investors’ confidence.
The mining stakeholders’ forum was attended by County leaders including Embu County Governor Cecily Mbarire and her Baringo County counterpart Benjamin Cheboi. Other senior leaders Managing Director KenInvest June Chepkemei, KNCCI President Dr. Erick Ruto and James Mureu, Chairman MSEA amongst other key stakeholders.
The PS disclosed that after the completion of the National Aerial Geo-Physical Survey that was done to map the minerals in the country, the exercise established 970 mineral occurrences in Kenya. Currently, the department has deployed geologists to counties for a ground-truthing exercise that would establish the exact volumes, value, quality and location of the minerals.
He added that through multiple strategic interventions and deliberate sector support, the department projected to increase the export value of minerals from the current Ksh 52 billion to over Ksh 500 billion over the next few years. This will also push the royalty volumes to rise to over sh 10 billon while approximately 18,000 jobs will be created.
Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire said that the mining sector was poised to inject growth momentum in the countries through strategic partnerships and collaborations that brought together government, counties and investors.
She added that revenues generated from mining would be supplement county budgets, drive growth and promote prosperity at the grassroot levels. She further called for compliance to the law to ensure all actors received their fair share of benefits from mineral resource.
“Counties equally stand to benefit immensely from growth in the mining sector because the mineral resources are located within counties. This calls for close working relations amongst all stakeholders,” she said.
While calling for international investor to take advantage of the opportunities in the mining sector, KNCCI President Dr. Erick Ruto said the business environment in the country was expected to encourage more growth.
To reap optimum benefits from the sector, Kenya’s minerals are classified as either building and construction and strategic. The government through the National Mining Corporation is mandated to oversee the exploitation of strategic minerals.