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Kenya’s Discovery of Valuable Coltan Deposits: Good or Bad? What the Future Holds

Coltan Kenya

Kenya has officially confirmed the discovery of its first coltan deposits, a mineral vital for manufacturing electric car batteries and electronic devices.


This discovery spread across six counties with Embu County in eastern Kenya at the forefront, holds the promise of transforming the nation’s mining sector.

“A precious mineral has been found here, and if you want to benefit, you should not sell your land.” Embu MP Nebart Muriuki.

“It is now official that Kenya has coltan reserves,” Mining Minister Salim Mvurya, expressing the government’s commitment, announced.

“We will leave our teams behind to do ground truthing so that we can now begin to assess the economic value of that particular mineral,” Mvurya said.

Read Also: The High Cost of Clean Energy: Cobalt Mining in Congo Fuelling Both Energy and Human Suffering

While the scale of these Coltan deposits is yet to be determined, the potential economic impact is substantial. Ground truthing activities are underway to evaluate the extent of Kenya’s coltan reserves.

Residents of Embu County have been advised to hold onto their land, with Nebart Muriuki, a local MP, emphasizing the importance.

“A precious mineral has been found here, and if you want to benefit, you should not sell your land.” Muriuki was quoted as saying by the East African.

The discovery holds the promise of job creation and an expansion of Kenya’s mining industry, potentially contributing up to 10% to the nation’s GDP, according to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI). Analysts foresee positive outcomes, citing the rising global demand for coltan, with the mineral averaging $48 (Ksh 7,824) per kilogram.

Notes to take from DRC: The True Cost of Precious Minerals

Have you ever paused to consider the true cost of the batteries powering your cherished gadgets and electric cars? The grim reality is that the minerals such as cobalt and coltan essential for manufacturing these technologies often take a severe toll on the communities they originate from.

In recent years, the surge in demand for coltan, driven by the electrification of our world, has given rise to a perilous situation in the mining industry.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, the discovery of cobalt in Kolwezi triggered a population influx, as miners flocked to the southern region in search of work, intensifying the demand for the precious mineral

Read Also: Gold Mafia: Behind the Shadows of Africa’s illegal Gold Business

However, the mining industry in the DRC is notoriously deficient in supervision and safety regulations, leaving workers susceptible to exploitation and hazardous conditions.

Shockingly, children as young as four are toiling in these mines due to extreme poverty, exposing them to hazardous chemicals and toxins with severe long-term health implications.

Mark Canavera, a child welfare expert at Columbia University, bemoans the lack of government capacity to monitor children’s involvement in Africa’s mining industry. Despite the dangers, parents often compel their children to work due to dire circumstances.

The physically demanding job, with extended hours and minimal breaks, results in negative health outcomes for workers. The mining process itself is environmentally hazardous, as heavy chemicals used pollute the air, water, and soil, causing irreversible damage. Workers are frequently exposed to toxic chemicals, leading to long-term health issues, with some even being buried alive.

It’s a tragic paradox that those risking their lives to extract this valuable mineral are paid very little, perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Fair pay becomes intricate as workers negotiate specific amounts with mining companies, government officials, stakeholders, and consumers.

As Kenya uncovers coltan, the outcome – whether positive or negative – is uncertain. The nation faces both opportunities and challenges, and the answers will emerge in the future chapters of this recent Coltan development.

For now, the best we can do is wait and see.


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