Mapping Kenya’s mineral resources to benefit economic development
Growing up in rural Kenya, Australia Awards Alumnus Joseph Kuria says he “knew nothing about geology”. It was only when he started university that he discovered the field. Once he graduated from University of Nairobi with his unique qualification, it was challenging to find a job but he was eventually taken aboard as a hydrogeologist and was later part of a groundwater research consultancy.
Kuria now works for the Kenyan government’s Geological, Mapping and Survey division. He is also taking part in the 2015 Emerging Leaders in African Mining (ELAM) program, run by IM4DC in Cape Town, South Africa. ELAM seeks to provide an opportunity for African professionals in the mining industry to enhance their effectiveness as leaders and contribute to improved governance of the sector.
Kuria received an Australia Awards Scholarship to pursue a joint Masters of Science in Applied Geology and Mineral Exploration at the Western School of Mining, Curtin University. He found the program very practical, “The fieldwork geology units that I took were very enlightening and very applicable in my line of work. More importantly, I learnt how to use both basic and complex computer programs to interpret oil wells and mine logs.” Explaining that the wider northeastern part of Kenya is not yet mapped, Joseph sees his training in Australia meeting this need: “The skills I acquired through the program will be handy in mapping, exploration and resource estimation in Kenya’s mining sector. This will be instrumental in developing the extractive industry as a young mining nation and with new discoveries of oil reserves.”
Apart from his own development, Kuria is keen on knowledge transfer to strengthen the mining sector which he says still lacks important skills and training opportunities, “I am certain that I will be offering expertise in Informed Mapping while giving very vital information on the various ground resources, sizes and grade - information that is overdue in our nation.”
Kuria commends the ELAM program for bringing together young professionals to learn about steering Africa’s mining industry in the right direction. “Some African nations have more developed mining sectors and we can borrow from them.” Once back home, he hopes to show the way on how to handle resources while collaborating with various stakeholders, “What is a better way to develop than sharing expertise, working towards the same goal and fighting poverty in an uncorrupt environment?”