Kenya has announced that the precious coltan mineral, which is used in the manufacture of cell phones, laptops and other communication gadgets has been found in the country.
Mining and Blue Economy Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya said on Wednesday that adequate deposits of coltan have been found in six counties.
The rare metallic mineral, mostly found in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is mainly used for the production of electronic goods of mass consumption, such as mobile phones, laptops and videogame consoles, and its discovery in Kenya is set to raise the country's profile as a mineral exporter.
Embu is among the counties which have been established to have the precious metal.
Making the announcement at Embu county headquarters, Mr Mvurya said the government is now assessing the economic value of the mineral.
"It is now official. We have coltan deposits in the country and we want to see how we can inspire the investors," he said.
The CS said the government is determined to make mining industry more vibrant for the benefits of the country.
He said more workers will be employed to assist in exploration of the minerals which are spread across counties.
He revealed that so far 970 mineral occurrences have been noted across the country, adding that mining would kick off soon.
He said laboratories will be decentralised to counties for easier testing of minerals.
"We shall be setting up laboratories services in eight regions where we shall be testing samples and declaring the quality of minerals found in a particular region," he said.
Accompanied by Embu Governor Cecily Mbarire, the CS vowed to have illegal miners who have invaded the mining industry weeded out.
He lamented that illegal mining is rampant in the country and the vice must be eradicated.
"Some have been carrying out mining of precious minerals without licences, we shall weed out all those investors who don't follow the law, We want mining to be a business where investors comply with all aspects of the law," he said.
He said a special unit has been set up by the cabinet to enforce compliance.
Embu Governor said she was happy that 20 percent of the mineral proceeds will go to the county and 10 percent will benefit the locals.
She said her administration is partnering with the national government to make the mining of coltan in the region successful.
Mbeere South MP Nebart Muriuki advised residents to stop selling their parcels of land at throw away prices.
"A precious mineral has been found here and if you want to benefit you should not sell your land," he said. - BUSINESS DAILY