By RENSON MNYAMWEZI
The State will spend Sh16 billion to map out mineral wealth through aerial survey.
Environment and Mineral Resources minister Chirau Mwakwere said physical prospecting for minerals will be replaced by modern techniques that include aerial photogrammetry, surveys and scans, adding that the process will take three years.
Mr Mwakwere, who was speaking at the premises of the Wanjala Mining Company in Wundanyi Friday, said the exercise would start soon “because the money is available”. The minister added equipment has already been bought.
The search for mineral wealth in Kenya has spurred following the discovery of petroleum in Northern Kenya and huge deposits of titanium in Kwale District.
The Government has also invited several foreign companies to prospect for other minerals and petroleum in Kenya’s territorial waters and also announced progress in the tapping of biogas and geothermal.
And yesterday, Mwakwere said Kenya is endowed with variety of rare gemstones, which are of high demand in the world market but remained untapped.
“We’ll soon carry out the aerial survey to establish the quality and quantity of the huge mineral deposits,” he said. “We’ve already purchased three aircraft that would boost mineral exploration.
The process will not only identify opportunities for investment and challenges for action to improve the livelihoods of Kenyans but also improve management of the resources,” the minister said. He spoke after inspecting the mining company, which is extracting iron ore in Wundanyi Division, Taita-Taveta County.
Mwakwere, who was accompanied by top ministry officials, said Kenya was the only country in the region that had not done an aerial survey for its mineral deposits.
Tanzania and Uganda, he said, had conducted the surveys.Commissioner of Mines and Geology Moses Masibo and Nema Director General Prof Geofrey Wahungu accompanied the minister.
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