Kenya is taking measures to encourage mining investments in the country and has made significant progress since the formal establishment of a mining ministry in 2013.
Ibrahim Mohamed
Ibrahim Mohamed

Not only did the World Bank rank Kenya the third most improved/reformed economy in terms of ease of doing business in 2016, the country also improved 16 places in terms of global mining destination attractiveness according to the Fraser Institute global survey report (also in 2016).

Addressing delegates at the annual Africa Downunder conference in Perth, Australia in September, Dr Ibrahim Mohamed, principal secretary for Kenya’s mining ministry emphasised the variety of benefits Kenya has to offer which “incentivise mining investment”.

This article first appeared in the October 2017 edition of Mining Review Africa

“Kenya is the gateway connecting east and central Africa, we offer cost effective and reliable power, world-class infrastructure (railways, highways, airports and sea ports) and a skilled and affordable labour force,” Mohamed stated. “Our currency is stable, we have strong democratic and independent institutions which guarantees adherence to rules of law and we strictly follow international treaty requirements.”

Encouraging exploration

Exploration is the first critical step to building a mining industry and Kenya is heavily invested in this specific area and hopes to conclude a national airborne geophysical survey by the end of 2017. “This will provide clarity and guidance for explorers and will further reduce exploration costs for potential investors,” Mohamed highlights.

The 2016 Mining Act also enables mineral concession applications to be done online, with a guaranteed response from the newly established Minerals Board within 90 days.

“Recent discoveries by both the government and private sector explorers have also pointed to high prospects of gold, titanium and manganese amongst others in the country,” he continues, outlining specific key minerals the country is hoping to capitalise on which include:

  • coal;
  • iron ore;
  • copper;
  • titanium;
  • niobium; and
  • rare earth metals.

According to the principal secretary, western Kenya is also known to host reliable gold deposits. “96% of the country’s gold belt is under-explored and offers extensive opportunities.” Acacia Mining is currently conducting gold exploration work in the country and has reported promising results.

In February the company announced a maiden NI 43-101 compliant inferred mineral resource estimate of 1.31 Moz of gold at 12.1 g/t on the Liranda Corridor within the its West Kenya project.

“This is one of the highest grade projects in Africa today, and we believe that this initial resource is a first step in the delineation of a multi-million ounce high-grade corridor. In addition to the Acacia prospect, which hosts all of this maiden resource, we have known mineralisation on the Bushiangala prospect, 1 km away to the west, with a further three prospective lodes in early stage testing. Whilst Kenya is a relatively new mining destination we are very pleased with the relationships we have built and the support we have received and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders as we progress this highly promising project,” Acacia Mining CEO Brad Gordon said following the announcement.

Signed, sealed, delivered

Mohamed emphasises that Kenya has and will continue to deliver on its promises which already includes the enactment of a progressive and world-class mining law and policy, delivery of an online licencing and management portal and a stable and predictable fiscal regime.

The conclusion of the airborne geophysical survey is clearly a priority at present and will provide increased availability of geological data which is accessible to anyone applying for a mining licence and will de-risk mining investments.

This is one of the major steps being taken by government to incentivise exploration and in turn mining in the country.


Base Resources Kwale minerals sands project Kenya’s flagship project

This large-scale operation is not only contributing significant revenues to the country as an operating mine, but will leave a lasting legacy as well.

“Once completed, Base Resources will hand over to the local authorities a working dam, operational boreholes, an electrical system, a road and port. That is an important partnership with Kenya, with current, future and continuing value. Base is also partners with the Australian government and Australian value-fashion group, CottonOn, in establishing ethical cotton production in Kenya. So the partnership assists local Kwale smallholders to supply cotton for clothing and sell cotton seeds as animal feed. CottonOn purchases the cotton and exports it, bringing the benefits of global value chains, the supply chains, to the women and men of Kwale and the aim is to have 10 000 profitable smallholder cotton farmers in the local region by 2020. This is sustainable development which works by boosting economic growth,” says Julie Bishop, Australia’s minister for foreign affairs.

If you are interested in being a part of the growth forecast for Kenya’s mining sector, be sure to attend the Kenya Mining Forum conference between 4 and 5 December in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, click here.