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Kenya Government Set to Evaluate Mineral Wealth and their Feasibility in 2021

Kenya will know the value of all mineral wealth in its territory when the National Airborne Geophysical Survey is completed in 2021.

President Uhuru Kenyatta announced during Mashujaa Day marked in Kisii County that the National Airborne Geophysical Survey which is being implemented at a cost of Kes 4 billion is now 70 percent complete.

The president backed sourcing of the contract locally as having saved taxpayers billions of shillings.

“In respect to the mapping of our national resources under the National Airborne Geophysical Survey, a private firm had quoted to do this at a cost of Kes 30 billion,” President Kenyatta said.

According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, the exercise which begun in 2018 will further reveal Kenya’s geological, geophysical, geochemical and geo-hazard data which will be kept in the country’s Geo-Data Bank.

The survey which involves the use of aircraft to collect information below earth’s surface using high-tech cameras and sensors covers all of Kenya’s territories including forests, water masses as well as Kenya’s steam potential.

“With the completion of this seminal project, the comprehensive geology of our country is now known. That information will be used to charter paths to prosperity and self-sufficiency for host communities and the wider Kenyan Nation,” President Kenyatta added.

The Mineral Act,2016 requires that royalties earned from the resources are shared, where the National Government gets 70 percent, County Government 20 percent and 10 percent goes to communities where mining occurs.

The data collected is expected to enhance investment in the sector and boost its economic contribution to about 10 percent from the current 1 percent.

In 2019, the country’s earnings from mineral production stood at Kes 29.1 billion compared to Kes 30.8 billion in 2018, a decline of 5.5 percent.

Big share of the earnings came from three titanium ore minerals; ilmenite, rutile and zircon which earned a combined Kes 19.6 billion of 486, 152 tonnes produced. Gold on the other hand earned the country Kes 1.4 billion last year compared to Kes 2 billion earned in 2018.

While e-commerce has recorded a steep growth in urban areas since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in March, its adoption has been slow in rural Kenya due to unavailable location data online, among other challenges.

The completion of geospatial mapping up to sub-location level and which had not been conducted since 1972, now paves the way for roll out of the National Addressing System that has been under development since 2016.

This now means location and address of all buildings, streets, geographical features in the country will be available on services such as Google Maps, making ride-hailing services and delivery of goods bought online easier.

“Because of this the next frontier of e-commerce within our nation will be powered by the National Address System that will be rolled out across our nation. The e-commerce trade channel will be serviced with drones made by Kenyans for Kenyans” President Kenyatta said.

The mapping has similarly helped the government keep inventory of all schools, hospitals, public utilities and infrastructure.