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Chinese firm seeks diatomite mining licence in Baringo




Mining and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary, John Munyes. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Chinese construction firm Zhengwei Technique Kenya has applied for two mining licences covering over 24,000 hectares in Baringo and Taita Taveta counties.

In Baringo County, the company is seeking a licence for 21288.91 hectares to mine diatomite, a mineral which is used for insulation of pipes and walls, filtration of drinking and in industrial waters as well as in the paint industry.

The production of diatomite in Kenya has generally increased over the last few years, with a total of 1,278.3 tonnes produced in 2017 compared to 1,054 tonnes in 2013, according to the Economic Survey. The total value of the mineral was Sh79.4 million in 2017, registering a 14.1 per cent increase from 2013.

In Taita Taveta County, Zhengwei Technique is seeking a licence to mine unspecified construction and industrial minerals on 2814.23 hectares of land.

In 2014, Tsavo Minerals Organisation announced that geological surveys in the county had revealed deposits of titanium, copper, iron ore, manganese and limestone.

Titanium ore minerals were first extracted in 2014 and have the highest value at Sh13.6 billion in 2017 alone. This is a 2.6 per cent increase from 2016.

So far, the firm Zhengwei Technique which will be venturing into mining has mainly engaged in engineering as well as construction project contracting.

“Notice is given by Virtue of section 34 of the Mining Act that an application for a prospecting licence, whose details and area boundary schedule are as described here below, has been made under section 72 of the Act and the said application has been accepted for consideration,” said Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Mining John Munyes in a Friday gazette notice.

“Any objection to the grant of the prospecting licence may be made in writing and addressed to the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Mining… to reach him within twenty one (21) days from the date of the publication of this notice in the Kenya Gazette,” he added.