Mines and Geological Department
Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources
MachakosRoad, Industrial area, P.O. Box 30009-00100, Nairobi
Phone: +254-20-2723101
Fax: +254-20-2714398

Contact: Raymond Mutiso +254 71 910 4719

Kenya Mining Act 1986
Kenya Mining Cadastre Map

Source: CIA Factbook


Kenya is underlain by Neoarchean (meta-)sedimentary and volcanic rocks in the west of the country along the border area with Uganda-Tanzania east of Lake Victoria; metamorphic rocks of the Neoproterozoic Pan-African Mozambique belt are exposed mainly in the northern central part of the country, and sediments ranging from Late Palaeozoic to Recent times, including continental deposits of the Karoo Supergroup, are found along the coast. Predominantly younger volcanics associated with the rift formation dominate the geology of the central part of the country and it appears that the volcanism has shifted eastwards with time. The East African Rift System is represented by the Gregory (Kenyan) Rift in which the altitude of the rift floor reaches a maximum of 2000m asl in the Naivasha area
Kenya is significant world producer of natural soda ash (4.3%) and fluorspar (2.15%). In Africa it was the leading producer of soda ash and second largest producer of fluorspar accounting for 65.5 and 21.7 per cent respectively of total output in 2008. Production of soda ash (from Lake Magadi) increased by 30 per cent whilst acid-grade fluorspar production increased by 52.9 per cent. 90 per cent of soda ash output was exported and the remainder used domestically for the production of sodium silicate. Other minerals produced by Kenya include gold, lead, gemstones, diatomite, gypsum, salt and kaolin. Kenya has significant resources of nickel and coastal heavy mineral sands with a high proportion of rutile and zircon,

Oil & Gas

There is on-going offshore oil exploration but no oil has been produced, and there has been no formal estimate of the possible reserves.

Maps and images

Minerals in Kenya

Among the minerals that are found in Kenya in significant quantities are soda ash (Trona) around Lake Magadi, Fluorspar at Kimwarer in Kerio Valley as well as Titanium in Kwale, Malindi and Lamu.

There is  reasonable potential for  Gold in Kakamega, Vihiga, Migori, Transmara, Bondo, Siaya, Pokot and Turkana  while there weres minor indications of the mineral in Nandi

Coal  occurs in Mwingi and Mutitu .It is currently under investigations by the Ministry of Energy in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources to establish its viability for commercial exploitation.

Iron ore  occurs in parts of Taita, Meru, Kitui, Kilifi and Samia. The Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources as well as private prospecting companies are involved in   evaluation of viability. 

Manganese  ore occurs in Ganze and Mrima Hill  in  Coastal region
.Diatomite  is found at Kariandusi n Gilgil. Vermiculite on Kinyiki Hill. Gypsum in El Wak,  Garissa, Tana River, Kajiado and Turkana . Natural carbon dioxide at Kereita in Kiambu while  a variety of gemstones are found in Taita, Kwale, Kitui, Mwingi, Kajiado, Isiolo, Pokot and  Turkan

Aviva Corporation Ltd (ASX:AVA, BSE:AVIVA) recently completed a maiden resource on the Bumbo Base Metal Deposit in West Kenya.
Bumbo is a polymetallic deposit with Cu, Zn, Au and Ag as the primary metals. The mineralisation is characterised by a central layer of massive sulphides with adjacent more disseminated and inter-layered sulphides. The mineralisation is broadly conformable with the host metamorphosed sedimentary lithologies and has been likened to a vulcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) style of mineralisation with significant hydrothermal overprint. The deposit is subdivided into two main lenses, each striking approximately east-west and dipping steeply to the north. The Bumbo Deposit contains an inferred mineral resource of 1.68 Mt grading 4% Cu Equivalent – 1.8% Cu, 0.7g/t Au, 36.8g/t Ag and 5.4% Zn
Modelling of peripheral gold mineralisation at Bumbo identified an exploration target of 450,000 to 700,000 tonnes grading between 1g/t and 1.5g/t Au. Encouraging results from early VTEM anomaly drilling in the Bumbo base metals precinct including – 69m @ 0.6%Zn, 0.15% Cu and 4.2g/t Ag at VTEM

Gold in Kenya


The Nyanzian rocks in western Kenya have numerous historical gold mines and is an extension of the same gold bearing belt in neighbouring Tanzania. Some 70 known gold occurrences occur within the Nyanzian rocks which underlie the Ndori/Siaya greenstone belt in western Kenya.
  • Kansai Mining Corporation (Canadian) is exploring the Migori Greenstone Belt in south-western Kenya. Previous work has indicated 4 orebodies with a combined resource of 764 000 oz of gold.
  • Red Rock Resources plc's Migori Gold Project consists of two Special Prospecting Licences (SPLs) covering 310 sq km in SW Kenya. Extends 63 km along the strike length of the Archean Migori Greenstone Belt. NI 43-101 Indicated Resource of 1.2m oz (0.25 g/t cutoff) of gold over the KKM, MK, Nyanza and Gori Maria prospects currently undergoing validation to JORC standard. 577, 000 oz (0.5 g/t cutoff) of gold validated as a JORC resource at the KKM prospect. Plan for gold production at the Macalder Tailings: 1.3m t@1.7g/t for contained gold content of 68k oz (JORC Measured Resource). Mining license application near to submission 2012: Commencement of pit optimisation studies on resource areas ahead of Bankable Feasibility Study. The licences are located 20-30 km north of the operating North Mara gold mine in Tanzania and immediately east of Lake Victoria in SW Kenya. The Mid Migori property covers an area of approximately 300 sq km and is located 20-30 km north of the operating North Mara gold mine in Tanzania. The licences are situated in the South Nyanza District in SW Kenya near Lake Victoria.
  • International Gold Exploration AB (Swedish) is exploring the Lolgorien, Akala, Rongo, Secerr and Turcana areas in western and south-western Kenya. In July, 2007, Goldplat plc signed a joint venture agreement with International Gold Exploration AB to develop the gold potential of ten targets totalling approximately 14 sq km selected by Goldplat within the Lolgorien licence area in the historically producing Migori Archaean Greenstone Belt in western Kenya.
  • AfriOre (TSX:AFO; AIM:AFO) has a 100% interest in the 1,514 sq km Siaya Special Prospecting Licence (“SPL”) area and has a right to acquire 100% interest in the 1,319 sq km Ndori SPL for US$1 million from San Martin Mining Research and Investment Company Limited, the holder of the SPL. AfriOre is involved in early stage exploration on the Masumbi target, where an extensive zone of gold mineralization, initially identified in a widespread trenching operation, was confirmed in a follow-up exploration program which included gold geochemical soil sampling, ground based magnetic surveys and rotary percussion drilling.
Rare Earth Elements

  • Pacific Wildcat Resources Corporation owns two UK holding companies that between them own a 70% interest in Cortec Mining Kenya Limited (“Cortec”), a private company incorporated in Kenya.  Cortec holds two prospecting licences and one special mining licence. The Special Mining Licence has a term of 21 years, is for the exploration, development and mining of Niobium and Rare Earth Elements at Mrima Hill.   It covers an area of 142 hectares (area includes key High Grade Niobium and associated High Grade Rare Earth Oxide mineralisation zones). The Mrima hill rare earth and niobium property near Mombasa on the Kenyan coast in Kenya with the potential to become a world class resource. It is ideally located being close to essential infrastructure with sealed roads and mains power running adjacent to the deposit and the mineralised area is only 75kms by road from Mombasa the largest deep water port in East Africa. This rare earth and niobium mineralisation at Mrima is related to a fault bounded basin of Jurassic age Karroo sediments intruded by Cretaceous aged alkali carbonatites with a thick mantle of enriched weathered rock as cover. The alkali intrusions at Mrima consists of carbonatite, agglomerate and fenitized sediments which have a surface extent of at least 2km by 1.3km. The carbonatite at Mrima is mineralogically classified as being either sovite or alvikite. Soil and laterite covers most of the Mrima hill and drilling by previous explorers has shown that the weathering profile is in places well over 100m deep. This depth of weathering has important implications for potentially high tonnage being present. The prolonged physical and chemical weathering of carbonatites at Mrima in these tropical environments on the coast of East Africa means the weathered zone (considerably less than 5% of the hill has outcrop) has been enriched and concentrated in both niobium and rare earth oxides. The niobium is believed to have been liberated from pyrochlore from the underlying fresh carbonatites (particularly the magnesian alvikite phase) and then to be concentrated into various secondary minerals and clays as a residual concentration through chemical weathering. The rare earth content has sourced mainly from bastnasite and monazite within the carbonatite and has been concentrated by both weathering processes and with an additional enrichment from a supergene process which may be analogous to what has occurred at the Mt Weld deposit in Western Australia. This enrichment process has produced both heavy and light REO with historical metallurgical work undertaken by the French company Pechiney Saint Gobain indicating that Mrima Hill may be well endowed with the more valuable heavy faction of rare earths. Previous exploration started in earnest in the early to mid-1950s by both the Kenyan Mines and Geological Department and by Anglo American who extensively explored the cap of the hill. In particular Anglo American carried out an assessment of niobium mineralisation in the top of the weathered zone. Test pits were systematically dug over the hill top on a staggered 70m pattern with some four hundred 30 foot deep pits being dug plus a 305m adit excavated into the hillside together with eight up to 225m long diamond holes being drilled mainly for stratigraphical purposes. In 1957 Anglo analysed results from this test pitting and also from taking a 14 ton bulk sample where they estimated mineralisation of 50.5 million tonnes at 0.67 Nb2O5 including 5.3 million tonnes at 1.21% Nb2O5 This historic estimate from only the top 9.14m of the weathered profile is associated with weathering and leaching of the primary carbonatite which has been removed by weathering leaving a thick soil overburden. At the same time Anglo commenced its exploration activities in 1955 an estimate of 32 million tonnes at 3.1% REO was internally reported upon by the Mines and Geological Department of Kenya from the area they test pitted (at least 80 pits were used in the calculation) to a maximum of 8 metres. The next resource work was carried out in the period 1968-1971 when the French company Pechiney explored for europium but they were not interested in the other rare earths or the niobium potential and they quoted a 12,000 tonne europium trioxide mineralisation at 800ppm in one area sampled. In about 1998 the US Geological Survey re investigated the historical data and they estimated a higher grade area of REO and quoted 6 million tonnes at 5%. On July 7, 2011 the company reported receipt of an NI 43-101 resource estimate report from ExplorMine Consultants of Johannesburg, South Africa that calculated a niobium resource in the inferred category of 105.3 million tonnes at a grade of 0.65% Nb2O5 for a contained total of 1,519 million pounds. The deposit is thought to contain a high grade zone of 10 to 15 million tonnes at 1.2-1.45% Nb2O5 based on a cut-off grade of 1.0% Nb2O5 using the historical shallow test pit data from the Anglo period of exploration. In total some 9,000m of test shafts 3,000m of drilling and 37 tons of bulk sampling has been undertaken by previous explorers at Mrima. Cortec Mining released lab results on Friday, 19 July, 2013, citing a potential in-ground value of up to US$62.4billion( Sh5.3 trillion) on Mrima Hill in Kwale. Mrima Hill's rare earth deposit is targeted at approximately 40 million tonnes with a concentration of approximately 5 per cent Total Rare Earth Oxides, "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," David Anderson, managing director, Cortec Kenya Mining said in a statement. 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 per cent of the royalties will go to the central government, 15 per cent to Kwale County and 5 per cent to local residents. The Rare Earths deposits stand beside the discovered Niobium content, valued at US$35bn (Sh2.9 trillion).

  • Australia’s Base Resources is on track to start output from the Kwale mineral sands mine at the coast in the third quarter of 2013, potentially spurring further investment into the country’s underdeveloped mining sector.
    Output is expected to triple the country’s mining export revenues and overtake coffee, which brings in about US$200m per year, as Kenya’s fourth-largest source of hard currency. “Kwale really represents that flagship mining project that Kenya’s government needed to kick start the mining industry,” said Tim Carstens, managing director of Base Resources.

    The mine will produce 80,000 tonnes of rutile per year, or 14% of the world’s supply, 330,000 tonnes of ilmenite and 40,000 tonnes of zircon, when it is fully operational. Rutile, which is composed of titanium dioxide, is an important pigment for industrial, domestic and artistic applications. Zircon is mainly used in the ceramics industry, while ilmenite is related to titanium. If the Kwale project is successful, the mining industry and Kenya’s government hope it could prove to be a catalyst for further investment by foreign and local companies.

Oil and Natural Gas

Proven reserves

Oil: 0mmbbls
Gas: 0Tcf

The national oil company is National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK)
The key players are
Rift Energy Corp
Africa Oil
ERHC Energy
Simba Energy
Far Ltd
Sunbird Energy
A-Z Petroleum
Imara Energy
Swiss Oil company
Taipan Resources
Ophir Energy
Pacific Seaboard
Tullow Oil
EDGO Group
Highlights in 2014
• Many companies looking to expand into East Africa see Kenya as a prime point of entry.
• International oil companies are turning to Kenya as a country for investment in acreage.
• Kenya is ahead of its neighbours when it comes to the expected monetisation of assets.
• Kenya’s first commercial oil was found in 2013, and first production is expected in 2016.
Recent developments
Tullow’s first discovery in January 2012 and six further discoveries in the South Lokichar Basin have led to the company to fast-tracking development, with the first commercial production expected in 2016.
• BG Group plans USD160 million spend on two offshore drilling wells in 2014.
• PwC was appointed in 2014 to oversee Kenya’s Petroleum Master Plan. It will provide a clear vision on how to commercialise oil & gas reserves, maximise the value of projects and provide a road map for investment in processing, pipelines, storage and distribution up to 2040.
• Tullow operations were suspended for a few days in October 2013 as local politicians used the recent discoveries as a way to leverage concessions from the Government and oil companies.
• The proposed Lappset pipeline seems likely as the recent Memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in Uganda by the three oil companies involved included the crude export pipeline to Lamu in Kenya. The complete 1 380km pipeline for the export of crude from Sudan to Kenya will be the largest such heated facility in the world and cost an estimated USD25.5–30 billion.
• Farm-in and farm-out activity continues with the most recent in April 2014 as Tower Resources acquired 15% of block 2B from Taipan Resources.
• In September 2013, the first major gas discovery was found offshore.
• Increased drilling activity is expected over the next two years.
• At least seven new blocks will be awarded in the first bid licensing rounds expected in the fourth quarter of 2014; although, this may be delayed until new regulations are enacted.
•At present 53 blocks are available in Kenya, of which seven were recently

Kenya’s oil discovery: The reality behind the hype

Kenya currently does not produce crude oil, and must import all of the 57,000 bbl/d it consumes. Previous exploration attempts for a domestic source of oil have met mostly with disappointment. However, with the most recent round of exploration performed in the later half of 2003 by Australian-based Woodside Petroleum, Pancontinental, and UK-based Dana Petroleum, and others, hopes are high that the renewed search for oil in Kenya may enjoy greater success. The Kenyan government has spent about $169 million exploring for oil and natural gas over the past 15 years. Over 30 wells have been drilled so far, but without much success. Work is also continuing by the new Kenyan government of President Kibaki to introduce a New Petroleum Bill designed to help better regulate Kenya's petroleum sector.
  • In April 2001, Dana Petroleum was awarded several production-sharing licenses by the Kenya.The blocks - L5, L7, L10 and L11 - situated in the Lamu Basin and represent one-half of Kenya's available offshore concessions.
  • In May 2003, Woodside Petroleum, acquired a 40% stake in those blocks from Dana. Dana will retain a 40% holding, with the remaining 20% stake held by Star Petroleum, a subsidiary of Global Petroleum Ltd. Woodside is now the operator of the blocks. A seismic study was initiated in the third quarter of 2003, after which two exploration wells are scheduled to be drilled.
  • In April 2002, the Kenyan government executed agreements that grant exclusive exploration rights of blocks L6, L8, and L9 to Pancontinental Oil & Gas NL (60%) and a UK-based Afrex Limited (40%). In August 2003, Woodside farmed into the three blocks, taking a 50% operating stake. Afrex will now hold a 30% stake, while Pancon will hold the remaining 20%. In return for its entry, Woodside will undertake the seismic work for the three blocks. A 3,488 mile survey across all seven blocks was completed and sent for data analysis during the fourth quarter of 2003 with results to be available in early 2004.
  • London listed multinational Tullow Oil which has been exploring oil in Kenya has announced the discovery of another oil well further raising the prospects of Kenya in joining the league of oil producers. The company in a statement released in July 2013 said the find is located at Etuko-1 well in the expansive Turkana County of northern Kenya. This is the same County that hosts Ngamia and Twiga South, which have previously been found to hold oil that meets commercial viability standards. According to the statement announcing the new find, Tullow expects a flow rate potential of 5,000 barrels a day based on Ngamia-1 and Twiga-South-1, and estimates there are 250 million barrels of oil in place. The company said this forecast could only increase given the indications in the other blocks currently being explored. The company, which has been focusing most of its efforts on eastern Africa, has previously had a good run in Uganda and drilling plans are underway. The recent discovery put East Africa in a pole position to start producing and exporting oil in what will be a major reprieve to a region that has seen the price of the commodity spiral to unimaginable levels. Apart from exploration efforts in Africa, Tullow is already producing and selling oil Ghana, a major income stream to finance the capital intensive exploration activities.
  • Canadian oil and gas company Africa Oil Corporation  announced in September 2013 that it has discovered oil in its Ekales well in Block 13T in Kenya. The company said analysis of wireline logs and formation sampling indicates a potential pay zone of 60 to 100 meters which will be confirmed by flow testing. "This discovery further de-risks and represents the fourth consecutive significant oil find in this basin," the firm said in a statement. The well is located in Block 13T in Kenya with Africa Oil holding a 50 per cent working interest with operator Tullow Oil Kenya holding the remaining interest and operatorship. Africa Oil is its Agete-1 well, also in Block 13T, was spud on September 16 2013 and is currently being drilled. "This prospect is seven kilometers north of the Twiga discovery and along the basin bounding fault trend referred to as the string of pearls by the company," the statement said. The well has a pre-drill prospective resource best estimate of 276 million barrels of recoverable oil with a chance of success of 54 per cent, it said.It added that the Bahasi-1 well in the Kenya Block 9 Bahasi prospect is expected to spud in the next few days and Africa Oil will operate the well on  behalf of its 50 per cent joint venture partner Marathon Kenya Limited B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marathon Oil Corporation. "The pre-drill prospective resource best estimate of this prospect is 320 million barrels of recoverable oil," the statement added. The company said two additional lightweight rigs for testing and shallow drilling operations are also being mobilised into northern Kenya and are expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2013. This will bring the total rig count to seven in the company's blocks in Kenya and Ethiopia. Africa Oil CEO Keith Hill said: "We are thrilled with the 100 per cent success rate of the drilling program to date in northern Kenya and with 10 additional leads and prospects in this basin we can expect additional discoveries in the immediate future. We are equally excited about the basin opening wells being drilled in two new areas and the pace of exploration ahead with six active rigs operating full time. This discovery gives us further incentive to aggressively push forward plans for development studies of this world class project in conjunction with our partners and the Government of Kenya."

Is there oil in Kenya?
While Kenya has no proven reserves of hydrocarbons, the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK), which is 100% owned by the government, in recent years has been actively promoting Kenyan exploration acreage and this has led to the signing of numerous Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) covering exploration blocks.

Looking at history, a number of oil exploration companies were involved in the exploration for oil in northern Kenya in the 1980s and 1990s, but then pulled out. However, there is general consensus that the potential of discovering oil and gas is high given the fact that data acquisition and interpretation techniques used nowadays are more advanced.

Kenya has four major sedimentary basins (Lamu, Anza, Mandera and Tertiary Rift) with a total surface area of 400,000km². There are about 38 blocks, of which only 19 are licensed. Out of the remaining 19 blocks, 10 have received Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) expressions of interest, with negotiations underway for some others. Some of the leases include Tullow (5 blocks), Origin Energy (1 block), Flow Energy (1 block), Camec (1 block), Africa Oil Corp (1 block), Vanoil Resources (2 blocks), AFREN (EAX) (2 blocks), Lion Petroleum (1 block), Sohi Gas Lamu (1 block), Sohi Gas Dodori (1 block), Anadarko Petroleum (5 blocks) and NOCK (1 block).

Discoveries in basins adjacent or similar to Kenya’s in the East African region give a positive signal on hydrocarbon reserves in the country. To date, there have also been positive indications in several of the 31 wells drilled such as Loperot-1, Sirius-1 and Pate-1.

In a recent update from Reuters, it is reported that Canadian oil and gas company Africa Oil Corp has begun drilling an exploratory well in northern Kenya with its partner Tullow Oil (with a 50% working interest) as it has been encouraged by recent finds in neighbouring countries such as Uganda and South Sudan.

Africa Oil said it had commenced drilling on the Ngamia-1 well on block 10BB, in the Lokichar basin, part of the East African Rift System. “Our Ngamia prospect could be a play opener for another great success in the region,” Keith Hill, Africa Oil president and CEO said, citing Tullow’s success in exploration efforts in the Lake Albert Rift Basin in neighbouring Uganda.

We expect offshore exploration activities to intensify in 2012 given the fact that US-owned Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Apache Corporation also plan to drill oil wells in the East African country. Last year, the Commissioner of Petroleum Martin Heya reported that BG Group Plc and Dominion Petroleum were leading two separate groups in an oil exploration bid in Kenya.

In conclusion, Kenya hopes a commercial discovery will be made in the near future as the country has geological features similar to those of areas where crude oil was found in Uganda and natural gas is being exploited in Tanzania.

In the meantime, we “cross our fingers” and hope that intensified exploration efforts will answer the above-mentioned question and in the long-run place Kenya along with oil-producing countries, further adding to its investment appeal as the heart of East Africa.

Imara is an investment banking and asset management group renowned for its knowledge of African markets.

Economic geology of energy sources

Economic geology of nonmetal deposits

Economic geology of ore deposits

Economic geology, economics of energy sources

Economic geology, general

Economic geology, general, deposits

Economic geology, general, economics

Economic geology, geology of energy sources

Economic geology, geology of ore deposits