Banner 7
Banner 8
Banner 9
Select another country

Kenya is one of the last unexplored countries in Africa, the "sleeping giant" with an enormous potential for various minerals, including base metals, industrial minerals, gemstones, and gold. There is relatively little mining activity in Kenya, compared to neighboring countries. The mining and quarrying sector makes a negligible contribution to the economy, accounting for less than 1% of gross domestic product.

The only large scale mining operation in the country at the moment is the Magadi Soda plant, which extracts deposits of soda ash from Lake Magadi. Recently, the Government signed a fiscal agreement with Tiomin Kenya, a subsidiary of Tiomin Resources of Canada, to allow the company to mine titanium deposits in Kwale along Kenya’s southern coastline. One of Kenya’s largest foreign-investment projects in recent years is the planned expansion of Magadi Soda.

Apart from Soda ash, Kenya was chiefly known for its production of fluorspar, limestone, gemstones, salt, and soapstone. Cement was a leading industry and export commodity in 2002 but production fell by half from because of economic difficulties and decreasing export demand. A limestone deposit near Bamburi and Mombasa had resources of 50 million tons, a travertine resource from the Umani Crater had 35–60 million tons, and marble resources at Mutini totaled 23 million tons.

There were several gold deposits in the country—the Migori deposit contained 1.6 million tons at a grade of 4.3 grams per ton of gold. Gold is produced primarily by artisanal workers in the west and south western parts of the country, on several small greenstone belts, some part of the Lake Victoria greenstone belt

In 2000, Kenya also produced secondary aluminum, anhydrite, barite, natural carbon dioxide gas, hydraulic cement, diatomite (near Gilgil, in the Rift Valley), feldspar, precious and semiprecious gemstones (amethyst, aquamarine, Iolite cordierite, green garnet, ruby, sapphire, and tourmaline), gold, gypsum, kaolin (total resources, from the Nyeri district, of 15–20 million tons), refined secondary lead, lime, petroleum refinery products, crude steel, coral, granite, marble, industrial sand (glass), shale, sulfuric acid, and vermiculite.

Mineral Law & Legislation

All un-extracted minerals are government property, according to the Mining Act. The Department of Mines and Geology, under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, controls exploration and exploitation of such minerals. The government has revised its Mining Act into the new Mining and Minerals Act thus liberalizing the sector and allowing more players in the market.

It states that all prospecting licenses to have an initial duration of four years. Renewals are granted to up to seven years in total, plus provisions. Exploration licenses are transferable.

Since its formation in 2001-2002, the Kenya Chamber of Mines (KCM) has become an active player in the mining sector of Kenya. Currently, the larger mining companies in the country are still financing the Chamber's activities, but it is hoped that it will become self-sustaining in the near future. The KCM in conjunction with the Kenya Geological Society have been promoting mining activities in Kenya.

Major Players in the industry

  • Athi River Mining Kenya Ltd.
  • International Gold Exploration (IGE)
  • Kenya Fluorspar Company
  • Swensson & Simonet Minerals Kenya Ltd. (SSM)

Back to top>