(Xinhua) -- Cortec Mining Kenya
Ltd on Friday said Mrima Hill in southwest Kenya has one of the
largest mineral deposits in the world with a potential in-ground
value of up to 62. 4 billion U.S. dollars.
Standing beside the deposit’s Niobium
content, valued at 35 billion contained metal, the lab results
confirm the hill as Kenya’s largest mineral deposit.
"This is by far the largest mineral
deposit in Kenya and the find at Mrima Hill will place Kenya as
having the potential to be one of the largest rare earth
producers in the world," the firm’s MD David Anderson
said in Nairobi.
Mrima Hill’s rare earth deposit is targeted
at approximately 40 million tonnes with a concentration of
approximately five per cent Total Rare Earth Oxides,
Having recently appeared on the energy radar,
Kenya and the entire East Africa region has quickly become a hot
spot for commercially viable oil and gas discoveries.
The East African nation has also a huge
mineral potential but its exploration efforts have only picked
in the last 5 years with the awarding of commercial licences in
prospecting for oil, gold, coal, geothermal and rare earths.
The latest development comes after the mining
firm said that private investors are set to establish a 200
million U.S. dollars Niobium mineral ore processing plant in
Kenya by the end of third quarter of 2014.
Anderson said on Monday that the company is
currently in the design stage of the plant, which will be
located in mineral rich Kwale County in southwest Kenya.
"Phase one will consist of a 200 million
dollars mining facility which is expected to generate over 300
million dollars in royalties’ and taxes to the Kenyan
government over the next 15 years," Anderson said.
He said that the plant is expected to process
up to 720,000 tones of the mineral ore annually. "The
expected output is 3,000 tones of Niobium concentrate," he
Cortec, which holds the mining licence for
Mrima Hill, has also confirmed a deposit of 680 m kg of Niobium,
held in 105 million tonnes at 0.7 percent Niobium Pentoxide.
The global demand for Niobium, used to
strengthen steels, is rising rapidly, with Mrima Hill now
positioned in the world’s top six deposits.
The Kenyan government will receive 3 per cent
royalties from the Niobium project and 5 per cent in royalties
from the rare earths mining.
An agreed 80 percent of the royalties will go
to the central government, 15 percent to Kwale County and 5
percent to local residents.
"Upon commencement of mining at Mrima
significant funds from the government royalty will be allocated
to the Kwale County for use in various community infrastructure
projects," Anderson said.
Rare earths are vital in manufacturing
high-tech electronics products, such as specialized miniature
nuclear batteries, high power magnets, LED lighting, super
conductors and miniature magnets.
The East Africa region is emerging as a new
hub for mining in the continent due to the recent mineral
discoveries and interest it’s attracting from international
Kenyan officials noted that the mining
industry in the region is undergoing a period of exuberance on
the account of the overall growth of the East African economy
driven primarily by the increase of activities in mining and
national infrastructural investment.
"In the last few years, the East Africa
region has attracted a lot of interest from investors in the
mining industry," said an official of the Ministry of
"The region has immense mineral resources
such as titanium, gold, rare earth and niobium, coal, iron ore,
manganese, gemstones and limestone which when harnessed
properly, can be a key contributor to the GDP’s of the
individual countries," the official added.