Kenya signs Sh4.8 billion deal with UK firm to revive fluorspar mining in the East African country

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By Zablon Oyugi

Kenya has signed Sh4.8 billion deal with the United Kingdom’s Soy-Fujax Mining Company for the revival of fluorspar mining in the East African nation.

The signing, done on Friday last week is being hailed as the most deliberate move towards the fulfillment of the pledge by the government to revive the fluorspar mining operations at Kerio Valley, adjacent to Kimwarer township in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The government estimates an average fluorspar concentrate production of 74,000 tpa, (range 35,000 tpa to 129,000 tpa) in the area and over the mine life, the mine could be in production for up to 40 years.

The contract was signed by the cabinet secretary of mining, Salim Mvurya, who was accompanied by his principal secretary, Elijah Mwangi, and Fujax UK Regional Director, Hendrick Ryst.

The agreement will see the government owning a 15 percent stake in the mining activities, which is a strategic move to safeguard Kenya’s interest in the sector.

Addressing reporters following the contract signing, Mvurya emphasized the pivotal role of mining in Kenya’s economic evolution. He lauded the contract signing as a crucial step towards reinvigorating fluorspar mining operations in Kerio Valley after a prolonged period of inactivity.

“We’ve finalized this contract, which will not only open up job opportunities for hundreds but also generate revenue for local residents, the county, and the government,” said Mvurya.

The mining company is estimated to have a production capacity of 80,000 tons in the first five years of operation before gradually increasing the production capacity to 100,000 tons within 15 to 20 years of operations.

Hendrick Ryst, the Regional Director of Fujax UK, expressed enthusiasm about collaborating with the government to encourage mining investment in Kenya.

He emphasized the joint venture’s dedication to ensuring that the mining operations would be mutually advantageous for both the government and the local populace.

“We are thrilled to have finalized this contract and eagerly anticipate commencing the mining operations,” said Ryst.

The Cabinet Secretary further emphasized the imperative for all mineral investors to adhere strictly to regulations concerning key mining aspects such as licensing, employment, and local resource management. He underscored the government’s commitment to safeguarding both the commercial interests of the nation and the welfare of local communities.

As the fluorspar plant prepares for reopening, the State Department for Mining has also revealed plans to collaborate with a strategic investor in establishing a gold refinery in Kakamega County and a Graphite Plant in Vihiga County. These initiatives aim to enhance value addition of local minerals.

These proactive reforms in the mining sector, coupled with efforts to attract strategic investors, are aimed at accelerating sectoral growth and achieving a target of contributing 10 percent to the country’s GDP.

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