Consultants warn mineral data at risk in survey by Chinese company

Kenya has proven deposits of titanium, gold and coal
Kenya has proven deposits of titanium, gold and coal. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya risks losing its mineral data to third parties if a Chinese company without expertise is allowed to map its mineral deposits in a Sh7 billion aerial survey, Parliament was told.

UK-based International Geoscience Services (IGS) and Canadian firm Paterson, Grant & Watson Limited (PGW)—which are consulting for Kenya—warned that GETI, the Chinese firm contracted for the aerial survey has no capacity to handle the job and that the security of the data was at stake.

The two consultants reckon that survey design by GETI is not appropriate for the country amid fears foreigners could use the data for own benefit.

Mr Peter Zawada, the managing director for IGSalso told the National Assembly’s committee on Environment that GETI is billing Kenya exorbitantly.

“To be frank and open we were shocked that this proposal was being considered by the government as it was not in keeping with principles and requirements of the survey,” Mr Zawada said.

“The design of the survey by GETI showed minimal quality control and assurance of the data and had very high costs compared to experienced international and credible geophysical survey companies.”

Kenya entered into a Sh7 billion deal with China to finance the National Airborne Geophysical Survey.

The project, which was conceived six years ago, will see China Exim Bank loan Kenya Sh6 billion while the government will contribute Sh1 billion.

Mr Zawada told MPs that GETI’s mapping technology is inferior to what Kenya already has.

Kenya is seeking to determine the quantity of its underground minerals.