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Environment and Mineral Sector

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The sustainable management of the environment and natural resources in Kenya is critical for economic growth and development of a country. There exists a wide range of priority investment areas within this sector ranging from climate change prediction and adaptation, catchment protection, sustainable exploitation of economically viable mineral resources to enforcement of environmental legislations.

1.  Mining Sector
Kenya is endowed with a wide range of minerals resources, some of which are already being explored and exploited by private companies. Currently, the Minerals sector, excluding quarrying for construction materials, contributes only about 1% to the GDP which is rather  low compared to the available potential. This implies that a good percentage of the country’s mineral resource is yet to be explored and exploited. Most of the minerals still remain unexploited due to inadequate knowledge on their status,
economic viability and appropriate mining technologies. Already, an appropriate mineral prospecting and mining policy conducive to investment and Private Public Partnerships (PPP) in the mining sector is in place. Therefore, opportunities exist in mineral exploitation, mining and value addition through direct or joint venture partnerships. Ecotourism through rehabilitation of disused mines (based on Bamburi Haller Park) is also in opportunity for investment. The minerals and areas of occurrence are as indicated below:
Mineral Potential
Mineral Area of occurrence
Soda ash Produced from the mineral trona that occurs at Lake Magadi which is situated within the Great Rift Valley. Lake Magadi is known to be one of the largest natural sources of trona in the world (annual production of 350,000 tonnes of soda ash)

Fluorspar Occurs and is mined near Eldoret within the Rift Valley. The mine produces acid grade Fluorspar of which the bulk is for export (100,100 tonnes per year)

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Diatomite which is known to occur in a number of localities within the Rift Valley wherein it is produced for both export and local markets Vermiculite which occurs in large quantities in the northern central part of the Rift Valley and Eastern parts of the country

Limestone marbles and dolomites occurring widely in various parts of the country where they are exploited for use in cement and construction industry

Natural Carbon dioxide
associated with the rift system and currently being extracted for both local and export purposes from Kereita, in Kiambu county and Sosian in Uasin Gishu county
Gypsum Found in North Eastern, Coast, Rift Valley and Eastern Parts of the country with El WAk Deposit in north Eastern believed to be the largest in the world. The Gypsum mined for use in the local cement production and for export Gemstonnes Kenya boasts of a wide range of coloured and ornamental stonnes, which include ruby, tsavorite, sapphire, corundum various types of garnet, peridot,
tourmaline, aquamarine, Zoisite and rhodolite

Gold occurs in parts of Western Kenya and Rift Valley

Titanium which is known to occur in large quantities at the coastal area

Coal Deposits of considerable quantities have been discovered within the Mui Basin of Kitui county. Other occurrences are reported within the Karoo rock formation in Kwale and Kilifi counties

Iron Ore deposits found in parts eastern, western, rift valley and coastal region of the country

Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Niobium which occur at Mrima Hill in Kwale county and are also known to occur in Ruri and Homa Hill areas in Homa Bay county

Lead which occur largely in eastern and coastal regions of the country

Silica sand deposits found in Ramisi area of Kwale county where they are exploited for glass manufacture

Manganese deposits occurrences found in Kilifi county at the coast, Samburu and Moyale counties in the rift valley and eastern regions respectively
Copper occurrences which have been reportedin various parts of the country including Kitui, Taita Taveta, and West Pokot counties
Chromite deposits found at Sigor, West Pokot county in the rift valley and at Dabel, Moyale county in Eastern region
2. Carbon Trading Schemes
Opportunities exist for investment in carbon markets in order to promote conservation and compensation for environmental services. This is a relatively new field and enormous potential exist in consultancy and capacity building to enable communities and corporations/firms access global carbon markets within the framework of Clean Development Mechanism. Tree planting projects for carbon schemes can be undertaken in forest areas like Mt. Kenya, Mt. Elgon, Cherengani, Aberdares and Mau forests and also in private and community land. These opportunities include: –
(i). Energy Based Investments opportunities:
i. Renewable energy (Geothermal, Wind, Solar, Hydro power and biogas)
ii. Energy efficiency (cook stoves, energy saving bulbs/lamps etc)
iii. Fuel switching (new technology that allow for fuel switching)
iv. Afforestation and Re-afforestation programmes within the ASALs and water towers through REDD+ initiatives and other Sustainable Land Management programmes.
v. Co-generation programmes
(ii). Agriculture based investment opportunities
This sector provides several opportunities for investors to earn certified carbon credits. Adapted grazing land management, for example, reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising livestock or producing dairy. Various other sustainable farming techniques which facilitate either increased carbon storage in, or leakage from, soil, are also becoming recognized as qualifying for carbon credit accreditation as offset projects.
3.  Climate Change Programmes
Kenya’s economy being mainly natural resource-based is highly vulnerable to climate change and variability. The economy has recently suffered from climate change related disasters, which include droughts (2000/2001), floods and mudslides (1997/98, 2006/7). Such events have caused damages to private property, loss of economic opportunities and life. In addition, the country’s main source of energy, hydro-power is seriously threatened by climate change.
Potential for Public Private Partnerships exist in securing global funding mechanism to implement adaptation and mitigation programmes in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas Lands (ASALs), high-risk zones and Early Warning Systems and environmental monitoring covering climate change events such as floods, droughts, landslides and seismic occurrences.
Construction works for dams, pans and drilling of boreholes as well as establishment of centre of excellence in climate change issues, and the promotion of education, training and public awareness relating to climate change are potential areas for private investment.
4.  Integrated Waste Management
There are huge investment opportunities in Solid waste management in the country especially in Nairobi and other major cities like Mombasa and Kisumu. Nairobi city produces an average of 2,400 metric tonnes of solid waste per day. Management of this waste through recycling will reduce environmental pollution and offer employment opportunities through commercial ventures. Investors are welcome to invest in solid waste management. Recycling of waste can be undertaken through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and may be extended to other cities and towns in the country. Specific areas of investment interests include

  •   Waste disaggregation
  •   Sanitary landfills
  •   Waste Conversion into various products including fertilizer (waste composting), methane gas and electricity generation (Bio Energy Projects) by digesting organic waste which on average constitute over 70% of waste generated in urban centres
  •   Recycling of waste (paper, glass, plastics, metals)
  •   Managing Waste Transfer loading stations
  •   Supplying and operating waste compactors
  •   Supply of wheeler bins
  •   Motorised street cleaning services
  •   Disposal of hazardous waste
  •   Sewerage system infrastructure construction and maintenance services
  •   Solid Waste Management Infrastructure construction and maintenance services

In addition, cleaning of the Nairobi and Ngong rivers and other rivers and water bodies near major urban areas and establishment and maintenance of public parks along the river banks and shores respectively (based on adopt a park concept) also offers potential opportunities for investment.
5. Resources Assessment
The country is faced with a challenge of estimating the value and value addition potential of most of its environmental resources. Data and information on the status and distribution of various environmental resources will assist in estimating the value of environmental resources as well as identifying value addition potentials. In addition, such data and information will identify major threats facing environmental resources. There are therefore opportunities for investment in environmental resources assessment through appropriate and state-of the-art technologies and data/information sharing for planning purposes.
6 . Space Technology for ICT and Resource Management
Presently, countries are exploring means and ways of enhancing space satellite communication and sensor platforms for management of resources. Kenya is no Island in this aspect and thus wishes to explore various opportunities to invest in robust space research and technology. The ambitious investments in earth observatory systems are truly transformational embracing current era of space missions to cover neighboring frontiers to address national security. Earth observation mission especially within our frontiers has never been more important to our national security than it is today.
But while addressing national security, space missions also undertake ground observations for assessment of natural resources thereby enhancing monitoring of environmental concerns and climate change responses, mineral surveys and disaster predictions. In this way, Kenya will join international space community in tracking down occurrences of natural phenomena, regular security updates and communication network.
7.  Meteorological Services
Investment opportunities for PPP exist in modernization of meteorological systems in: establishment of early warning systems, tidal gauge station, marine automatic weather stations, and seismic systems: weather modification e.g in fog and frost suppression flash flood forecasting using Doppler weather surveillance technology. Investment opportunities exist in the following areas:
i. Modern laboratory: For the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) to fully utilize the data it generates, it requires a Research Laboratory well equipped with computing facilities including data receiving and retrieving facilities. It also requires ArcGIS applications to help store spatial data, analyze, and compile primary & secondary data and enhance accessibility and exchange of information between different departments within and outside the organisation for relevant decision making through central data
base update.
ii. The establishment of e-learning system for supporting online education at the Institute for Meteorological Training and Research (IMTR);
iii. Establishment of the WMO Integrated Global Observation System (WIGOS) / WMO Information System (WIS) ;
iv. Support to acquisition of the Aviation Weather Wind Profiler to enhance operations in the airports;
v. Sharing of experience in Product dissemination in customized service delivery and public weather services using modern technology through attachments and on job training;
vi. Development and dissemination of value added climate products to decision makers to improve conditions in climate-sensitive sectors. In addition, collaboration in the enhanced use of the UK developed PRECIS (i.e. Providing Regional Climates for Impact
Studies) Model where the UK Met office can provide KMD with the boundary conditions for the model initialization in a view to addressing climate change vulnerability analysis in the country.
vii. Climate data recovery and modernization through transfer of climate data recovery technologies and development of climate data preservation system Software including necessary hardware components.
viii. Human Capacity building in specialized training to the level of MSc and PhD and dynamical modeling and interpretation of Numerical Weather Predictions (NWP) products by building the capacity of the Institute for Meteorological Training and
Research (IMTR). In addition, strengthen Software Development for meteorological applications.