Earnings from fluorspar plunged by 39 per cent last year to Sh868.8 million following the closure of an Eldoret-based mining factory, official data indicates.
The Kenya Fluorspar Company (KFC) closed shop in February last year citing falling commodity prices saw it post losses for three consecutive years. The closure of the factory depressed local production and left about 600 people unemployed.
“Flourspar output declined from 70.100 tonnes in 2015 to 42.700 tonnes in 2016. The decline could be attributed to the temporary closure of a local firm and constraints faced in production following low demand and slump in prices since 2013,” said the government writes in the Kenya Economic Survey 2016.
Poor performance in fluorspar production and sales dampened Kenya’s overall earnings from the mining sector to Sh23.3 billion from Sh23.8 billion in 2015.
Gold earnings fell from Sh978.7 million to Sh652.5 million. The sub-sector has been depressed for the last four years, with earnings dropping from as high as Sh13.919 billion in 2012 in an uncertain regulatory environment.
The British firm Goldplat begun mining in Kenya in 2012 but had to soon restrict production citing a dim outlook and stringent regulations.
However, things may be looking up for Kenya’s gold mining after Goldplat in January borrowed Sh200 million to finance the expansion of its Kilimapesa processing plant in Trans Mara West.
Soda ash continued on its downward trend as earnings fell to Sh6.2 billion from Sh6.6 billion. Soda ash export took a hit in Kenya in 2014 after Tata Chemicals scaled down production citing high-energy costs.
But while gold, soda ash and fluorspar earnings suffered, titanium cemented its position as Kenya’s highest mineral money maker. Kenya made Sh13.3 billion from the mineral up from Sh12.9 billion in 2015.