The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Mining Engineering this week celebrated the success of the first Kenyan PhD mining graduate Dr Joseph Muchiri Githiria.
After finishing his studies near the end of last year, he returned to his post as lecturer at Kenya’s Taita Taveta University, which is located between capital city Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.
Githiria said in a statement issued on Monday that he was looking forward to helping build his country’s nascent mining sector.
His PhD in mine planning focused on developing a stochastic approach to cutoff grade optimisation – aimed at maximising net present value by concurrently varying metal price and grade-tonnage distribution in an algorithm.
Wits School of Mining Engineering head Professor Cuthbert Musingwini said Githiria’s graduation was a highlight in the school’s history of working with students from all over Africa and contributed to the school’s pursuit of becoming a leading research-intensive university by 2022.
Githiria’s graduation came after Kenya formally established a standalone Ministry of Mining in 2013.
He was a student in the “pioneer” Mining and Mineral Processing Engineering course at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in 2006. However, there had still not been much local mining activity when he completed the five-year course in 2010.
Githiria has also completed an 18-month Master of Engineering Science in Mining degree at Curtin University, in Western Australia.
He stated that Kenya needed to learn from countries such as South Africa and Australia about developing a mining sector and on how to address the challenge of engaging all stakeholders in charting the country’s mining future.