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Plans For Kakamega Gold Refinery Gain Momentum

The gold refinery will transform local economy and benefit thousands of artisanal miners in western Kenya

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Kenya’s economy is set for a shakeup after the government revealed plans to establish the Kakamega gold refinery. The gold refinery, a first for the county, will benefit thousands of artisanal miners in western Kenya, mostly around Ikolomani area where they have been mining manually for years.

Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS), Salim Mvurya, says the tender for the project was floated last year and bids are now being evaluated. Apart from adding life to Kakamega’a mainly agri-economy, refining gold is expected to lift Kenya’s profile on the world map.

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He said the Kakamega gold refinery will serve gold miners in Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay and Kakamega counties, who despite being in the trade for many years have not made meaningful gains. “We want to mop-up all the gold from these areas to be refined at the plant we are establishing in Kakamega,” he said.

The Government has implemented strict measures to streamline operations in gold mines, aiming to establish a large, ready market for the region. The government has lifted a licensing moratorium and developed a policy on mining, processing, and value addition to unlock potential.

The ministry plans to map-out all existing minerals in all the 47 counties to determine their economic viability as the government moves to reposition the sector as a key revenue earner. “Our teams are on the ground to map the country and identify key value chains, along the existing minerals,” he said.

The tender for the project was floated last year and bids are now being evaluated

The drive, he said, has seen another tender floated for granite processing in Vihiga County. “We feel that tiles should be made here in Kenya and you know we can do value addition to the stones in Vihiga and get value for money,” he said.

A similar venture is on in Elgeyo Marakwet, where the government has concluded evaluation of bids for fluorspar mining. This will see a strategic investor inject Ksh4.8 billion in fluorspar mining, thus benefiting residents.

“This drive will continue for copper, coltan and other minerals that we have discovered to establish markets and a strong value chain for the benefit of millions of artisanal miners in the country,” he said.

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BT Correspondent
BT Correspondenthttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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