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Kenya precious stones undiscovered, says CS

Geological surveys have shown that Kenya could be sitting on some of the world’s most coveted precious stones, Mining Cabinet secretary Dan Kazungu has said. According to the CS, Rift Valley, Central Kenya, South Coast, Upper and Lower Eastern have shown “interesting findings” during the feasibility study.

“In this financial year, we have set aside Sh200 million for mapping. But in some of the few discoveries, we have taken note of the potential in our soils,” said Kazungu when he addressed the First International Gem and Jewellery Trade fair in Nairobi last week.

Kenya’s minerals, he added, are a mix of light precious and heavy industrial stones. “In Tharaka Nithi, we have made very interesting findings. In this country, we have even seen presence of iron ore, coal and titanium. But we need funds to get them out and put Kenya in the world’s multi-trillion industry map,” he said.

Mining contributed 1.1 per cent to Kenya’s total gross domestic product in 2016, compared with 1 per cent in 2012, according to data published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

But jumping 16 places to position 86 in the most attractive global mining destinations in 2016, according to the Fraser Institute, Kazungu said the country has one of the brightest sectors to pull her citizens from poverty.

Over the weekend, the country’s first gemstone value addition centre in Voi, Taita Taveta county was inaugurated. The official launch of the value addition centre is part of the ministry’s move to establish value addition hubs across the country.

This week, Kazungu is expected to tour Vihiga county to inspect developments towards establishing a granite processing hub. “We are doing a number of feasibility studies to establish more gemstone value addition centres in Baringo; Samburu, Isiolo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Marsabit and Migori,” said Kazungu.

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