, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 5 – The Ministry of Mining has established the country’s first gemstone value addition center in Voi, Taita Taveta County to enhance the value of minerals.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu said the move will allow the country to fetch competitive prices at the international market as they will be exporting finished goods.
Value addition will include cutting, polishing and heat treatment. It will also include identification and certification.
“Similar value addition centres will be replicated in mineral rich countries for facilitating value addition,” Kazungu said ahead of the Gem and Jewellery trade fair scheduled from 6 to 7 July in Nairobi.
Gemstones found in Kenya include blue sapphire, ruby, tsavorite, green and red garnet and aquamarine.
The ministry has invested Sh100 million in the Voi centre as it plans to launch elsewhere.
“We shall set also up other gemstone processing plants in Baringo, West Pokot, Marsabit and Isiolo. For processing granite, we want to put up one in Vihiga. For gold processing, it shall depend on the scale, but it will probably be in western part of the country,” Kazungu said.
The announcement of the establishment of the processing plants follows the country’s improved mining performance in the global arena. In the last one year, Kenya has jumped 16 places to position 86, up from 102 in the most attractive global mining destinations survey conducted by Fraser Institute.
“Regional trade platforms such as the upcoming gem and jewelry trade fair will definitely create opportunities and open up the market for local miners,” he said in conclusion.