The economy is set to receive a major boost following the government’s launch of a Ksh 5.8 billion gold refinery in the Lidambitsa area of Ikoloman constituency, Kakamega County.

This gold refinery, the first of its kind in the country, is expected to be operational by June next year, marking a significant advancement in Kenya’s mineral mining sector.

Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya, who presided over the groundbreaking ceremony, announced that the venture, undertaken by foreign investor H-NUO Kenya Company, will benefit thousands of artisanal miners across the country.

These miners, who have been extracting gold manually under hazardous conditions, will now have safer and more efficient means of operation.

The CS also highlighted the government’s efforts to formalize artisanal mining activities through the formation of cooperative societies, enabling miners to work without harassment.

Additionally, licensing officers will be deployed to mining counties to facilitate registration locally, eliminating the need for miners to travel to Nairobi.

“Artisanal mining has now been decriminalized, and as directed by President William Ruto, we shall support them by providing equipment for safer work environments,” said Mvurya.

He also urged the local community to establish a Community Development Agreement Committee to secure one per cent of proceeds for local development.

Mvurya announced that investors would pay royalties, with 20% allocated to the county government and 10% earmarked for local development projects. He emphasized the importance of the investor adhering to due processes, including offering job opportunities and tenders to the local community.

As part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility, the CS directed H-NUO Kenya Company to establish a health center, provide piped water, and other social amenities for the community.

He also noted Kenya’s significant underground wealth, with a geological survey revealing 970 mineral deposits nationwide.

Plans are underway to construct a state-of-the-art mineral testing laboratory in the area to enhance mining efficiency and value addition.

Mining PS Elijah Mwangi described the gold refinery as a game changer for the region, putting Kenya on the global map of gold-producing countries.

Local Member of Parliament Bernard Shinali, through the National Government Constituency Fund (NG-CDF), has already allocated land for the project.

Kakamega County Women Representative Elsie Muhanda and MPs Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo), Fredrick Ikana (Shinyalu), Malulu Injendi (Malava), and John Waluke (Sirisia) attended the ceremony.

The legislators praised the initiative, predicting significant improvements in the living standards of local residents.


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