UK firm Acacia Mining has discovered gold deposits worth an estimated Sh165 billion in Kakamega County.
The exploration firm said on Monday that it had discovered an estimated resource of 1.31 million ounces of gold at a grade of 12.1 grammes per tonne at its mines in the Liranda Corridor in Kakamega, whose grade is one of the highest in Africa.
“This is one of the highest grade projects in Africa today, and we believe that this initial resource is a first step in the delineation of a multi-million ounce high-grade corridor,” said Brad Gordon, the firm’s CEO.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu estimates the discovery could be valued at Sh165 billion ($1.65 billion).
The firm, however, said the scale of the find is small and it would need to undertake more tests and drill more exploratory wells.
This is with the aim of increasing the resources to upwards of two million ounces, which would make the mines economically viable. It added that it is too early to assign a value to the find.
Acacia Mining Exploration Manager Tim Sharp said it will take up to three years to complete the drilling and studies required so that the decision to proceed to gold mining can be made.
“It is certainly a significant step for us but the decision as to whether we move to mining will depend on whether it turns out to be commercially viable. We have a lot more work to do before we get there, which may take at least five years from now,” said Mr Sharp.
The firm, which has been operating in Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Mali has licences to prospect for gold in Kakamega, Vihiga, Siaya and Kisumu.
It is listed on the London Stock Exchange, with a secondary listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.