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Kenya hires Chinese expertise in mining survey

15 August 2013, 12:32

Nairobi - Kenya has assigned China's Geological Exploration Technology Institute of Jiansu to conduct a joint nationwide aerial survey of the east African nation's mineral deposits, stepping up plans to exploit its mineral resources.

The survey is expected to last 24 to 36 months and will establish the country's potential mineral wealth, Mining Secretary Najib Balala said, a week after he increased royalties on minerals and revoked some mining licences.

A proper legal framework and aerial surveys are key in making Kenya a mineral hub in the region, Balala said in a statement on Wednesday.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1963, successive Kenyan governments have failed to exploit fully the country's mining potential, with foreign exploration companies discouraged by poor infrastructure and an outdated legal framework.

The country also lacks a comprehensive record of its mineral reserves, even though recent exploration has discovered deposits of titanium, gold and coal.

Balala said the survey will cover the whole of Kenya and will be financed by the Chinese government at a cost of up to 6 billion shillings. He did not specify when the survey would begin.

Though Kenya has proven mineral deposits, its mining sector remains a relatively small contributor to national output.

Last week Balala raised royalties on gold, of which Kenya is a relatively small producer, to 5 percent of gross sales value from between 2.5 percent and 3 percent. He also revoked some mining licenses after a review launched in May to help Kenya to claim a bigger share of earnings from the sector.

- Reuters

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