, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 17 – The Ministry of Mining plans to impose heavy penalties against mining companies and individuals involved in exporting minerals without the appropriate licences.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the regulations will be included in the Mining Bill which he hopes to be passed into law before the end of the year.
The CS regretted that at the moment, mining companies involved in illegal activities in the sector attract a penalty of as low as Sh2,000 only.
“We have presented harsh penalties in those criminal activities. We are now working with the Kenya Revenue Authority, various border posts and the port, to make sure that not a single mineral can be exported without an export permit,” Balala told journalists on the sidelines at a forum in Nairobi.
The CS says apart from the companies engaging in illegal exportation, specific individuals of clearing companies and other government officials involved will also be prosecuted.
“We currently don’t have the figures of the penalties but we are working on the regulations of what will be the figures,” he said.
Last week, 12 containers of copper ore were seized at the Mombasa Port belonging to a mining company which did not have an export license. The company had a dealer’s license.
He says apart from lacking the export license, the company lied about the minerals being exported whereby declaration was iron ore yet it was exporting copper ore.”I am working with KRA to improve on the verification of these minerals.”
Balala also mentioned that his he will be soon appointing two officials who will be based at the Mombasa Port to help in the monitoring of the minerals being exported.
“Minerals are wealth of Kenyans and we cannot allow few people to start stealing them and get them out of the country. So if you a serious business person come we give you the right licenses so that you can do the business legally,” he urged.
The ministry presented the Mining Bill to the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on Wednesday after making several amendments of the previous draft which was presented before Parliament early this year.
If the bill is passed into law, one of the major changes is that all the mining licenses will be applied for online to reduce corruption.