Kenya constructing minerals laboratory – Balala

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that Sh100 million had been invested in the construction of the new facility/FILE

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that Sh100 million had been invested in the construction of the new facility/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – The government will construct a minerals laboratory in the country for investors to test their extracted natural resources in a bid to reduce costs for miners.

Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that Sh100 million had been invested in the construction of the new facility.

Balala said the government will work with an internationally recognised agency through a public private partnership.

“The building which is being constructed will be ready in the next six months. We will bring a recognised international agency, so that we do the testing together and whatever revenue we generate we might share,” he said.

Balala said this will reduce costs to miners who are currently forced to ship mineral samples to other countries to test them. He said the ministry is working on improving its income from Sh21 million to Sh2 billion in the financial year.

He said that the ministry was in talks the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to see miners source for capital through the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). He said the ministry was also seeking to have mining school in the country to add on more skilled miners in the country.

“We need skilled people in the sector so as investors can find local service providers in the industry, in order to make it cheaper for them to do business,” he said.

He added that they would also set up a community relations unit to address challenges between the miners and the communities.

“We are planning to create a platform where we will interact with the communities by creating awareness of the difference between exploring and extracting as well as how they can benefit from the extraction,” said the Secretary.

He warned that briefcase licenses will be revoked.

“If you don’t have financial capacity to mine, kindly keep away,” he said.

He says that the government is in the process of carrying out an airborne survey to map out minerals and their potential.

“The government has partnered with the Chinese government to do the airborne survey; it’s a good start towards mapping the resources.

We are in the final stages of the discussions in order to get funding,” he said.