Largest mineral deposits in Kenya – Mrima Hill in Kwale

By K24Tv Team On Tue, 27 Aug, 2019 08:00 | 3 mins read
Crude oil. Photo/Courtesy
Editor's Review
  • Mrima Hill in Kwale County has one of the largest mineral deposits in the world with a potential in-ground value of up to $62.4 billion (Sh6.4 trillion). The hill is Kenya’s largest mineral deposit.
  • Kitui is unique as it is the only area in the whole eastern and central African region with diverse mineral deposits. The county has enormous deposits of limestone, coal, iron ore and industrial clay. It also boasts gypsum, malachite, chalk limestone and variety of gemstones.
  • Kisii is also rich in granite, which is found in Bonchari, Bogiakumu area. According to the Kenya Geological Survey 2008, there are about 22 billion tonnes of soapstone in Kisii Hills.

1. Kwale

Mrima Hill in Kwale County has one of the largest mineral deposits in the world with a potential in-ground value of up to $62.4 billion (Sh6.4 trillion). The hill is Kenya’s largest mineral deposit.

Titanium mining adds an estimated $108 million (Sh11.2 billion) to Kenya’s GDP annually and generates $186 million (Sh19.2 billion) in economic output per year. Over the life of the mine, the contribution to GDP will be close to $1 billion (Sh103.3 billion).

2. Kitui

Kitui is unique as it is the only area in the whole eastern and central African region with diverse mineral deposits. The county has enormous deposits of limestone, coal, iron ore and industrial clay. It also boasts gypsum, malachite, chalk limestone and variety of gemstones.

Proper mining could easily transform Kitui to be among the top four richest counties in Kenya. The Mui –Zombe Basin is thought to have one of Africa’s richest coal deposits estimated at about 400 million tonnes and worth more than Sh3.5 trillion. 

3. Turkana

Tullow Oil PLC has spent about Sh100 billion in prospecting oil and developing wells since 2017 in Turkana. Tullow earlier said oil production could range from 60,000 to 80,000 barrels per day, with a possibility of rising to 100,000 barrels per day from the development of more wells.

The State was paid Sh64.6 million in licence fees and infrastructure improvement payments by the multinational in 2017.  London-based Tullow Oil Plc plans to invest Sh7 billion in its Kenyan operations this year as the multinational steps up preparations for commercial production starting 2022. 

4. Kajiado

For some time, soda ash has been Kenya’s leading mineral export. It is mined at Lake Magadi in Kajiado on the floor of the Rift Valley by the Magadi Soda Company.

The country mined 303,580 tonnes of soda ash in 2017, an increase from the previous 301,719 tonnes in2016.

5. Kakamega 

Gold deposits, which were discovered in 2017 in Kakamega, are estimated to be worth Sh165 billion. Two years ago, a British mining company Acacia Mining announced the discovery of an estimated 1.31 million ounces of gold resources at Lirhanda within the county. Acacia has been exploring for gold in Kakamega, Kisumu, Siaya and Vihiga at a cost of Sh2.95 billion

6. Taita-Taveta 

Precious stones mined in Taita-Taveta include Tsavorite (green garnets), red garnets, ruby, sapphire, tourmalines and rhodolites. After a 15-year shut down over land conflict, Iron Ore mining has resumed in an Sh100 million, 68.4-acre piece of land by a new investor who has acquired assets and rights from Wanjala Mining Company and Kishushe Ranching Co-operative Society Ltd. 

7. Elgeyo Marakwet

In 2005, fluorspar mining in Elgeyo Marakwet was valued at $14 million (Sh1.4 billion). In March 2012, the company completed a de-bottlenecking of its processing plant to increase its total capacity to 130,000 tonnes, up from 121,000 tonnes in 2011. In 1967, fluorspar deposits were first discovered in Kerio Valley. Much of fluorspar is exported to India and Europe.

8. Homa-bay 

Experts have hinted at the presence of abundant, but untapped mineral resources such as gold, nickel, uranium, iron ore, copper and cement in sections of this vast county. Before Kenya attained independence in 1963, there was fully-fledged gold mining at Awuoro mine. However, the investors, Bowers from South Africa closed the mine prematurely on fears that independence could bring chaos and mayhem. 

9. Nyeri

The Geothermal Development Company revealed that gas discovered last year while drilling a well in Mwireri village was, in fact, carbon dioxide. The National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation, who had been contracted by the Nyeri county government to drill the borehole, encountered the gas after reaching 250 feet (76 metres). The largest carbon dioxide mines are in Kereita in Kiambu. Kenya extracted carbon dioxide worth Sh510 million in 2017, data from the mining ministry shows.

10. Kisii

The mining of Tabaka soapstone in Kisii County is an important economic activity providing more than 7,000 people with incomes. Kisii is also rich in granite, which is found in Bonchari, Bogiakumu area. According to the Kenya Geological Survey 2008, there are about 22 billion tonnes of soapstone in Kisii Hills.