Mining CS Dan Kazungu has blamed NASA for creating political animosity in the country, causing Kenya to lose a bid to host the 2019 International Colored Gemstone Association congress.
The hosting rights for the multi-million mining conference was cancelled following the political unrest in the country. The ICA congress that is held after two years has now been moved to Bangkok, Thailand
This comes a fortnight after the Confederation of Africa stripped Kenya of the rights to host the 2018 African Nation Championship.
Kazungu said the event was the first of its kind to be hosted in Kenya and Africa.
“The congress has never been held in Africa before. We were very well prepared to host the event in 2019 but because of the current political short comings, the organisers have dropped the deal.” Kazungu said on Thursday.
“It is sad to loose such an investment conference that could have busted our mining industry. The conference is of the same magnitude with the world cup tournament because it comprises of more than 50 countries that are practicing mining and exploration activities,” the CS added.
He said protests by the Opposition have led to the loss.
NASA has been staging weekly demos across the country calling for reforms in the electoral body before the October 26 repeat presidential election.
But Kazungu said the Mining ministry has placed a fresh bid to host the conference in 2021.
“Africa produces most of the gemstones sold in Thailand, Sri lanka, India and other European nations. We therefore have all the rights to convene the congress here in Kenya in future,” he said.
Political unrest has led to the rescheduling of the Kenya Mining Forum (KMF) conference that was slated for November 13 to a later date.
The CS said "The forum brings together mining stakeholders and investors and we now anticipate holding it in Nairobi either on December or next year."
Kazungu spoke while meeting small scale miners forum in Voi,Taita Taveta county on Thursday.
According to the CS, Kenya is gearing towards stepping up the production in mining industry which is highly dominated by production of minerals such as soda ash, fluorspar, kaolin, gold and gemstones.