There are at least 15 types of minerals in Laikipia County, a report from samples tested by the Mining ministry has shown.
According to the report released yesterday by the county’s department of natural resources, the region is rich in iron ore, limestone, granite and a host of clay minerals.
Among those found was kaolin (which can be used to manufacture porcelain) magnesium-rich sepiolite, bentonite (which can be used in the drilling industry) and aluminum - rich bauxite.
Others were garnet (used on sandpaper), titanium, sillimanite (used in manufacture of metals, glass, ceramics and cement) and basalts (used in the construction industry).
The mining report was released in Nanyuki during a mining conference that brought together different stakeholders in the industry following a year-long exploration and research by geologists.
During the process, samples of sand, rocks and other material drawn from potential mineral sites were sent to geologists at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining laboratories for testing.
“We collected different samples of small rocks, sand from different locations on suspicion that they could be rich in minerals. The samples tested positive,” said Lakipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi.
Paul Muiruri, the lead geologist hired by the county, later spent months in various parts of the county in a field survey to locate, identify and map out the mineral deposits.
The report indicates that under the county lies basement rocks endowed with minerals and which were mainly found in community land in Laikipia North.
Naibor area in Segera was found to have high concentration of iron ore, Olarjiju area had bauxite and Kaolin while Ilpolei area in Mkogodo West was found to have carbon-rich black soils.
High concentration of limestone was found at Loibor Soit Hill in Kimanju, while sand rich with titanium and rare earth elements was found in Ilpolei. Iron and aluminium-rich laterites were found in Suguta Ranch, Lonyiek, Kirimon and Suiyan.
“What we have found is very little and this is just the first baby step. We will find out more minerals because we did not have access to some areas,” said the geologist.
Laikipia becomes the first county to approach the Mining ministry for support to map out county mineral deposits.
Speaking during the launch of the report, Peter Kaberia, the Principal Secretary in charge of State Department for Mining, said the ministry would support the county to tap on its mineral potential for the benefit of its people.
“In the past we have heard communities complain that they have not benefited from the money, but not anymore. We want to change this so that the people of Laikipia and other mining communities are given their share,” he said.
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