Canadian firm now to focus on Kenya gold

Saturday January 12 2013

By KENNEDY SENELWA Special Correspondent

Canadian-owned African Queen Mines Ltd is quitting Mozambique to focus on gold exploration activities in western Kenya after reviewing its portfolio of exploration properties in South, West and East Africa.

The move is expected to reduce the company’s operational costs and prioritise projects for development in 2013.

Irwin Olian, the firm’s chief executive said African Queen Mines Ltd will halt the development of King Solomon project in Mozambique to concentrate on Rongo and Ugunja gold fields in Kenya and Noyem-Nyanfoman in Ghana.

The discovery of large reserves of gold in Kenya in the past five years continues to attract foreign interest with several international mining firms taking up acreage.

Statistics show that in 2010, Kenya earned Ksh6.2 billion ($72.9 million) from the sale of two tonnes of gold — three times more than the year before — indicating how rapidly the commodity is growing as an export product.

More gold exploration companies such as Africa Barrick, Linear Metals, Red Rock Resources and Goldplat are narrowing down on Kenya and especially focusing on the western region of the country.

More than 10 international mining firms have operations in western Kenya.

Last November, London listed African Barrick Gold plc acquired mineral prospecting areas in western Kenya from Aviva Corporation of Australia, while ABG paid $20 million to take over Aviva Mining Kenya Ltd (AMKL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australia Stock Exchange quoted Aviva.

Recent surveys by the government and private companies have revealed gold deposits around Migori and Kakamega in western Kenya.