There is sufficient evidence of iron ore deposits in Mbeere particularly within river beds that emanate from Kiang’ombe hill. A number of streams in this location still contain the dark deposits of iron in the sand. In earlier days, there were special sites where larger deposits were found and collected. Most of the traditional iron ore mining sites cannot be easily traced due to environmental degradation caused by overgrazing and trampling.
There are several sites in the county that contain deposits of iron ore and await exploration and development.
Some notable sites containing iron ore deposits include: –
It is on Thura River just below the confluence of three streams (Thura, Ganjai and Kauni) at the ridge on the Kirie-Kiritiri road. There is iron ore and most of the deposits appear to emanate from the Kauni stream.
It is on Marivwe stream in Ngoce sub-location of Mbeere. Iron ore deposits are in the stream bed.
This is on Thura River in Mbeere North where dark sand for smelting iron is found.
It is in Kirie in Mbeere where the dark sand containing iron ore was collected and is still discernible.
This is a tributary of Ena River and a seasonal stream that flows through Kigwambiti in Evurori, Mbeere. It contains iron ore deposits too.
Sand which occurs naturally in the stream beds or rivers in dry areas is found mostly in Mbeere, Embu County. It is manually scooped from the dry riverbeds mainly on the seasonal rivers such as Marivwe, Njauri, Thura and the lower reaches of Ena river. Other sites where sand scooping is done include: Kithagana seasonal stream near Siakago, Nguu stream around Mecca and Kwamiti areas along Kiritiri-Gachoka road. Also near Kanyariri and on road sides especially on drifts along Siakago-Kiritiri road and other road drifts in Mbeere.
Sand scooping increases during the dry season as an income generating activity. There is a huge potential for investment in this area and requires some coordinated mechanism to ensure sand is harvested sustainably and the benefits trickle back to the local people.
The most commonly types of gemstones found in Mbeere include:
• Blue and Green Aquamarine
• Red, Blue & Green Garnets
• Mica and many others
Kirigo hill is said to contain graphite and some diamonds. There are also magnesites, graphites and pegmites in other areas. Apparently, mining of gemstones in this area is primarily done by hand by the local artisans. It has been difficult to gather information regarding the existence of these precious stones since the entire process is done informally. It is not easy to establish the quantities of gemstones mined, their value, sales, clientele etc. There is therefore need to develop exploration and mining of gemstones in the County.