Kenya’s mining industry is adorned with precious metals such as blue sapphire, tsavorite, green and red garnet, aquamarine and gold among others.
Mining being a complex industry, the Mining CS Dan Kazungu suggested hiring of mining experts who will track industry practices and record the data in the geological databank and to cope with different mining segments, the decision awaits approval from the Public Service Commission.
Treasury CS Henry Rotich in the 2017/18 budget reading allocated Sh150 million for a geological databank.
The experts will help the government by managing different sub-sectors in the mining industry including artisanal mining, gem-stones, exploration, large-scale mining and services sector among others.
“In Kenya, we want to move from potential to reality and one of the ways to do that is to ensure that we have people who can be tracking what’s going on across all sub-sectors,” Kazungu said.
Value Addition Centers are about to be set up by the ministry which will gear towards increasing revenues earned from the precious stones sub-sector.
The first two centres will be established in Taita Taveta and Vihiga at an estimated cost of Sh200 million with others expected in West Pokot, Marsabit, Baringo and Isiolo.
The Centres will be located close to the mineral-rich regions which will facilitate identification, certification, faceting/cutting as well as polishing and heat treatment and reduction of transportation costs.
They will also provide locals with training and marketing boosting up the country’s employment levels as a result.
The mining ministry was received sh200 million for mapping of the country’s minerals, Sh103 million for a mineral certification laboratory, Sh140 million for mineral audit support and a further Sh140 million for acquisition of survey equipment.
“For Gold whether we will put a big refinery or small scale processing plant depends on the scale,” Kazungu said.
“Most of our country’s gemstones are exported abroad in their raw form for processing and value addition fetching much higher value at the expense of the miner,” Kazungu said.
“The value addition process will greatly encourage local miners and traders of these stones since they will now market finished goods instead of exporting them in their raw form.