Kenya is set to join the league of gold-producing nations following the granting of the first mining lease to UK company Goldplat.
The East Africa country, where numerous foreign companies have prospected for gold over the years, has issued a 21-year mining lease to Goldplat, paving the way for gold mining in the Lolgorian area of Trans Mara, in the Rift Valley.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister John Michuki says the granting of the licence to Goldplat, which operates in Kenya as Goldplat Kilimapesa Gold, is set to catapult Kenya into the league of “large-scale gold producers”.
“It is indeed a special moment in the history of the mining industry in Kenya, since this is the first mining lease to be issued in the country since independence from Britain in 1963,” he says.
He adds that the Kenyan government will earn 4% of the value of each export consignment in royalties, as well as a corporate tax tied to the profits that Goldplat will make.
Over the past three years, Goldplat has been prospecting for commercially viable gold in Lolgorian, where it has discovered gold deposits that could earn Kenya $4.3-million each year in royalties.
The gold deposit is estimated at 1.65-million tons at 2.44 g/t for 129 000 oz, and the pro- jected mine life is 15 to 20 years. Lolgorian is located in an Archean greenstone belt.
“We are just about to finish the installation of the plant that will process the raw commodity and plan to commence mining immediately,” says Goldplat Kilimapesa Gold CEO Mark Austin.
He adds that the company will aim to produce 5 000 oz/y initially.
Besides the Aim-listed Goldplat, other companies exploring for gold in Kenya include Canadian firm Linear Metals, Red Rock Resources, Aviva Mining, Abba Mining, Afri-All Company and Mid-Migori, Homa Bay, Trans Mara and Narok.