DEVELOPMENT

Firm invests Sh4.8 billion to revive fluorspar mining

The investment will see Soy Fujax Mining Company retain 15 per cent stake

In Summary
  • Mvurya said compensation demands should be addressed in as the revival plans go on
  • A recent visit to the site in Kimwarer, Keiyo South subcounty showed bushes being cleared in readiness for the revival

A UK-based company has invested Sh4.8 billion in the defunct Kenya Fluorspar Company in Elgeyo Marakwet county. 

The investment will see Soy Fujax Mining Company retain 15 per cent stake.

It will also see mining activities that had stopped for 10 years due to global market challenges resume next month.

Members of Kimwarer Sugutek (Fluorspar) community who were displaced from the 9,070 acres have been holding meeting with the national and county governments on compensations.

“Community members are upbeat that they will receive their dues ahead of firm's revival. This will empower them engage in other meaningful economic activities,” Micah Kigen, a member of the community said.

Mining and Blue Economy CS Salim Mvurya, Soy Fujax UK director Hendrick Ryst and the East Africa boss John Masada signed the agreement in February.

Mvurya said compensation demands should be addressed in as the revival plans go on.

A recent visit to the site in Kimwarer, Keiyo South subcounty showed bushes being cleared in readiness for the revival.

“We are hopeful that the government is committed to the revival and compensation process now that an investor is ready to hit the ground,” Isaiya Chemase, a resident, said.

The displaced families are demanding Sh3 million per acre for what they claim is 921 acres of the mining field.

President William Ruto during a recent tour in Elgeyo Marakwet county disclosed his support for the plans to revive the firm.

“We want the firm to resume operations and later handle compensation for displaced families,” he said.

About 3,000 workers lost employment when the company wound up 10 years ago.

Back then, the fluorspar was transported to Mombasa, before it was wholly exported.

Closure of the Kenyan firm left South Africa and Morocco as the only African countries extracting the mineral.

South Africa produces 300,000 tonnes annually, Morocco 100,000 tonnes while Kenya produced an average of 120,000 tonnes.

Fluorspar is used to make hydrofluoric acid, which is used in various applications such as in refrigerants, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, high-octane gasoline and aluminum.

Others are plastics, electrical components, fluorescent light bulbs, ceramic production and optical lens production.

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