The Ministry of Petroleum and and Mining has announced plans to establish a gold refinery in Kakamega County.
The government, according to reports, has already issued an International Expression of Interest (IEOI), seeking for contractors to construct the refinery.
In a notice on Tuesday, the Ministry said the move is aimed at up-scaling the local informal gold mining to regional and international standards.
“The aim of the project is to add quality to raw gold and improve its value through refining. Further, the project will improve the livelihoods of the beneficiary communities, regional economy and that of Kenya as a whole through the creation of direct and indirect employment opportunities,” the notice read in part.
In Kenya, gold mining is majorly in small scale and is undertaken by thousands of artisanal and small-scale gold miners (ASGMs) with little skills-sets.
According to Planet Gold Kenya, a partnership between the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) there are about 250,000 artisanal miners in the country.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) estimates that gold production has averaged 381 kilograms per annum over the last five years.
Last year, gold production stood at 395 kilograms or an equivalent Ksh2.96 billion in value in today’s pricing in the international market.
Kenya has substantial gold deposits in Vihiga, Kakamega, Kisumu, Migori and Siaya counties, that have been under-exploited.
According to the Mines and Geology Department at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the gold capacity of Migori alone stands at 34 tonnes per year, that could earn the country some Ksh67 billion annually.