More mining licences set to be revoked

January 29, 2014
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The report shows that out of 253 licences reviewed, at least 78 licences did not meet all the specified requirements in the Mining Act/MARGARET WAHITO
The report shows that out of 253 licences reviewed, at least 78 licences did not meet all the specified requirements in the Mining Act/MARGARET WAHITO
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – More mining licenses risk being revoked come end of February this year when the Mining Ministry kicks off implementation of a report by the task force which was last year mandated to review all mining licenses issued between January 2003 and December 2012.

The report shows that out of 253 licences reviewed, at least 78 licences did not meet all the specified requirements in the Mining Act.

Speaking while receiving the report, Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the ministry is currently preparing a set of regulations that will see introduction of new license application procedures and facilitate the implementation of the full report.

“If a license has not complied with the law it has the possibility of being cancelled or revoked by the Cabinet Secretary,” Balala warned, “ so we are going to scrutinize this and hopefully by end of February we will come with clear regulations to look at how best we are going to make this process transparent.”

Balala said one of the immediate action by the ministry will be to automate the whole licensing procedure and reduce human interaction which he said has led to increased irregularities.

“When applying for a licence you will not come to ask a favour from an officer. You will have to upload all the requirements. So if don’t upload those documents as indicated, your application will not be acknowledged,” Balala said.

During the review, the task force noted that a number licences did not have any approvals from respective County Councils as required, other firms lacked financial capabilities while some lacked proof of statutory fees payments.

“There remains a need to clearly define the financial capacity required. In many cases the financial statements supplied showed balances that in no way could support any mining activity whether exploratory or extractive,” the task force chaired by Mohammed Nyaoga said.

The task force also revealed of cases where large parcels of land of up to 1,000 acres had been allocated yet the respective companies showed less acreage allocation.

The report also shows that certain applications for licences have been accepted despite disputes existing between landowners and various companies.

“The regulations are not sufficient to protect local communities from local authorities which entities grant consent without any reference to or involvement of the community. The law does not protect the communities or even government from speculative behaviour of some actors,” Nyaoga noted.

Some of the licenses had expired despite the respective firms going on with operation, especially on large tracks of land.

“If the license has expired it should be automatically cancelled. It does not have to wait for discretion of the commissioner of mining and geology to say if it is expired or not. It is automatic,” the Mining CS emphasized.

Last year, the ministry revoked 47 mining licences for not meeting the set laws.

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