Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich told Parliament when he unveiled the national budget last week that the mining sector could “immensely contribute to the development of industries, wealth and job creation” in Kenya.
A report highlighted by The Standard, suggests that Kenya is “firmly” on the path to earn billions, if not trillions, from its vastly untapped 77 different minerals, petroleum and gas reserves buried under the surface.
It is thought that these reserves could potentially offer reprieve for citizens who are already heavily taxed – putting Kenya’s prospective mineral wealth at KSh333,333 ($3233) for everyone in the population of the around 45 million.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu told local media that the exact value of the mineral deposits would be significant, but could only be determined after a pending aerial geological mapping.
A report, titled “Resource Bliss, Dilemma or Curse” published by the IEA earlier this month, suggests that rare earth minerals, coal and oil carry Kenya’s hope of resource wealth.
“This is a sector with great potential to enhance an economy,” Dr Miriam Omolo, the lead researcher said, following conclusion of the eight-month long analysis of the country’s extractive sector.
The findings in the report, for the first time, provide a collective and independent valuation of Kenya’s mineral wealth. With the minerals still largely untapped, exploiting them could bring major benefits to the economy and the Kenyan people.
Commercial exploitation of the mineral wealth, through revenues from royalties and taxation of profits made by the mining firms, is anticipated to ease the pain on communities throughout Kenya.
IEA projects that the State will earn KSh300 billion ($3 billion) from the mining sector, exclusive of oil and gas, a year which is almost a fifth of the national budget – according to The Standard.
Another research project, carried out by the Strathmore University’s Extractive Industries Centre puts the expected contribution of the mining sector at 10-15% of the GDP, including the new jobs and value addition down the supply chain.
Dr Luis Franceschi, Dean of the Strathmore Law School, predicts that Kenya’s potential mineral wealth could play a catalytic role in the development of the country.
In a statement in response to the news of the country’s mineral potential, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the government would keep a close watch on the exploitation of mineral resources on behalf of the Kenyan people, “in the hope that if they are well protected, then our people can benefit from them.”