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Economy

Govt inks Sh7bn China loan for airborne mineral survey

An earthmover scoops raw material for crushing at the stock pile section, at Kenya Fluorspar Company Limited, in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG
An earthmover scoops raw material for crushing at the stock pile section, at Kenya Fluorspar Company Limited, in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG 

The government has signed a Sh7 billion loan agreement with the Exim Bank of China, to fund an airborne mapping project of Kenya's mineral resources.

This follows the signing of the government-to-government framework agreement in July by the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

The Kenya Nationwide Airborne Geophysical Survey project is set to map the country's minerals and natural resources.

The project is aimed at attracting more mineral investment into the country among other key benefits.

“The plan is to have the project kick off in November 2017. The loan agreement documents have been sent to China and upon completion of the paper work, the project will officially be launched with approval from the Attorney General,” said Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu.

16 geoscientists

Upon commencement of the mapping, the Ministry of Mining will have 16 Kenyan geoscientists to provide technical oversight and monitoring of the project.

The team will consist of staff from the Mining ministry, University of Nairobi and the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation.

The ministry has also retained a team consisting of United Kingdom’s International Geoscience Services (IGS) and Canada’s Patterson and Grant to act as independent supervisors on behalf of the ministry.

“This is to ensure the nationwide airborne survey is done according to global standards and that Kenya’s geo-data is secured. The Kenya team will be key in monitoring and evaluation of the project.” said Mr Kazungu.

Should the project kick off as planned in this year, completion of the mapping of Kenya’s mineral resources is estimated to take three years.

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