Narok-based gold mine Kilimapesa Gold is looking to expand its operations in Kenya.
Caracal Gold, the company that owns Kilimapesa, said recently it plans to expand exploration as well as use cast mining in new areas where it is licensed to mine for gold.
“The mine intends to expand its operations by undertaking exploratory drilling and open-cast mining at Kilimapesa Hill. The mine intends to use a combination of reverse circulation drilling, diamond drilling as well as open-pit mining to complement the underground mining currently in place,” said the company in filings lodged with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) as it sought environmental approvals for the expansion.
“The exploration exercise will involve the collection of geological and geochemical data through… to determine the mineral potential of the area. Exploration diamond drilling will be used to probe the contents of the known ore deposits and potential sites.”
The company will use open-pit mining as opposed to its current underground mining method.
The latter method obtains gold-bearing ore the near surface of a mine when open pits of about 10 and 20 metres are dug and deposits of commercially useful ore or rocks found near the surface are collected.
Caracal completed the acquisition of the Kilimapesa gold mine in August last year in a reverse acquisition whereby it acquired the holding company of Mayflower Gold Investments Ltd and thus a 100 per cent indirect interest in Kilimapesa Gold.
Mayflower had before that concluded acquiring Kilimapesa from Goldplat. The conclusion of the transaction was preceded by a lengthy period in search of an investor.
Goldplat had halted operations at the mine. The mine was in May 2019 put under maintenance and care, meaning minimal operations had been going on for more than a year.
The move was aimed at controlling losses at the mine. The stoppage of operations resulted in the amount of Kenya's gold exports dropping drastically from 473 kilogrammes in 2018 to 291.5 kgs last year.
Export earnings stood at Sh1.44 billion last year. Kilimapesa is the biggest commercial gold mining operation in the country.
Operations at the mine resumed late last year. Caracal said it has been making investments in restarting the operations as well as upgrading the equipment at the mine.