Alinani Precious Metals (APM), a Zambian company, has revealed intentions to establish a Sh1 billion gold processing plant on Nairobi’s Mombasa Road, aimed at artisanal miners.
The gold refinery project, which will begin building in early September, will allow miners to derive value from their mineral resources rather than only exporting raw commodities, according to APM Chief Executive Bupe Chipando.
“Alinani Precious Metals will have the ability to generate and distil about 300 kilogrammes of gold per day with state-of-the-art equipment and machinery,” Mr Chipando in a statement.
Small-scale or artisanal mining is popular in Siaya, Migori, Kisumu, Kakamega and Homa Bay counties and the APM refinery plant will target the processing metal produced by informal diggers in several counties in Kenya.
“We will train, finance and provide machinery as well as continuous technical support to our members. The small miners in areas like Migori, Homa Bay, Siaya, Kisumu and Kakamega will be our priority,” he said.
APM is a mining corporation under First Group of Companies in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, with First Line Capital as an investment company, First Commodity Exchange works as a market platform, while First Cargo Logistics provides transportation of products under one umbrella.
Kenyan Mineral Rights Board Chairman Stephen Kuria said earlier that Kenya’s untapped mineral sector has the potential of earning the country Sh719.4 billion or 12 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) from the minerals sector.
The sector currently contributes less than one per cent of the GDP.
An aerial survey to map Kenya’s mineral deposits tipped to act as a catalyst for foreign investment, was to be complete in June.
Petroleum and Mining Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said data from the survey would make it easier to attract investors to a sector that has been neglected by successive governments.
According to the 2019 Economic Survey, total earnings from mineral production declined 5.5 per cent in 2019 to Sh29.1 billion from Sh30.8 billion in 2018.
Most of Kenya’s mines remain small-scale projects, and mineral smuggling, especially in gold, abetted by foreign merchants, is on the rise.