Kenya announces discovery of first deposits of valuable coltan mineral

Kenya set for sharing of mining royalties to counties

Kenya has discovered its first deposits of the valuable coltan mineral used to manufacture cell phones, laptops and other communication gadgets.

Making the announcement on Wednesday this week in Embu County, Mr. Salim Mvurya, the country’s Mining and Blue Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) said that adequate deposits of coltan have been found in six counties.

“It is confirmed. Our country boasts coltan deposits, and we are eager to explore ways to attract and motivate investors,” said the CS.

The Democratic Republic of Congo holds more than 70% of the world’s rare metallic mineral reserves, which have for decades fuelled violent conflict in the east of the country.

According to the Mvurya, 970 mineral occurrences have been identified in the country to date adding that plans are underway to decentralize laboratories across various regions to facilitate the assessment of the economic value of the discovered mineral.

Embu is among the counties which have been established to have the precious metal.

“We will leave our teams behind to do ground truthing so that we can now begin to assess the economic value of that particular mineral,” said Mvurya.

He mentioned the decentralization of laboratories to counties for streamlined mineral testing.

“Laboratory services will be established in eight regions, where we will analyze samples and determine the quality of minerals discovered in specific areas,” he explained.

The CS emphasized the government’s commitment to revitalizing the mining industry for the nation’s welfare.

He stated that additional workers will be hired to support the exploration of minerals distributed across various counties and this is expected to create more jobs and expand Kenya’s mining industry and economy.

Locals have been urged not to sell their lands to opportunistic land cartels that may be aiming to benefit from the discoveries.

The Governor of Embu, Cecily Mbarire, expressed her satisfaction, stating that 20% of the mineral proceeds will be allocated to the county, with an additional 10% earmarked for the benefit of the local residents.

Mining in Kenya

In Kenya, mining presently contributes less than 1% to Kenya’s GDP; however, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) indicates the potential for it to reach up to 10%.

Coltan is commonly processed into metallic tantalum, a heat-resistant powder utilized in the production of capacitors, essential components in electronic devices.

Forbes reports that the price of coltan varies based on its tantalum content, with an average kilogram of the rare ore fetching $48 (£37).

Industry analysts highlight the rapid global demand for coltan, identifying it as a significant factor fueling conflicts in eastern DR Congo. Rival militias vie for control over mines producing coltan and other precious minerals in the region.

By: Ndlovu Nqobile


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