NAIROBI, July 27 (Xinhua) — Kenya will host a regional mining conference in November to explore huge investment opportunities in the sector, organizers said on Thursday.
The Nov. 13-14 conference to be hosted by the ministry of mining in collaboration with the Chamber of Mines will bring mining stakeholders and senior government officials from Eastern Africa.
“We want to establish and consolidate Kenya’s position as a regional mining hub in order to use the sector as a key driver for socio-economic growth,” said Elodie Delagneau, event director of Kenya Mining Forum that is returning to Nairobi after a hugely successful launch edition last year.
Kenya Mining Forum is the annual meeting place for East African mining stakeholders to share and present their policies in the region.
“Evolving the mining conference toward a regional exhibition will allow us to create a consistent platform for Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda, existing solid trade partners,” Delagneau said.
Kenya is the third largest producer of soda ash in the world and the seventh producer of fluorspar. Metallic minerals currently produced in the country include titanium, gold and iron ore. Export statistics for Kenya indicate a constantly growing sector.
The recent discoveries are estimated to be worth 62.4 billion U.S. dollars and Delagneau said this will propel Kenya to the list of top five countries with rare earth deposits in the world.
In addition, the country has the world’s top six deposits for niobium. Commercial deposits of coal have been discovered in the north eastern region of the country and are currently under review for potential uses and production.
The coal deposits in Kitui in eastern Kenya are being billed as a source of cheaper energy to drive Vision 2030, the economic blueprint that aims to make Kenya an industrialized country in 20 years.
“It is a very opportune time to promote investment in the Kenyan mining sector,” Delagneau said, noting that the Mining Act, approved in May 2016, has provided more transparency and credibility for investors.
Kenyan officials have highlighted the potential of the mining sector to contribute up to 10 percent of the GDP in 2030 compared to 1 percent in 2015.
“Furthermore, Kenya has been working with McKinsey on a 20-year mining plan that has already highlighted a potential of 62.4-billion dollars in mining revenues,” she said.
“This is going towards the objective to contribute up to 10 percent of the GDP in 2030 against 1 percent in 2015,” Delagneau added.
According to organizers, apart from a varied and practical program focused on issues and challenges ranging from finance, legislation, women in mining, the gemstone sector and mining companies and industry suppliers will be present at Kenya Mining Forum.
Currently, 67 percent of Kenya’s power is generated from hydro sources, 10 percent from geothermal and 23 percent from thermal sources, which is price-sensitive to fluctuating international fuel prices.
The anticipated mining of coal would free some of the country’s foreign exchange reserves for other purposes.
Kenya’s government is recruiting McKinsey & Co. to design a 20-year mining plan that will guide development of the nascent industry. A key component of the plan to be designed by McKinsey will be an airborne geological survey.
The mining ministry has intensified efforts to acquire mineral and geological data. A countrywide aero magnetic survey project is expected to begin imminently.