NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – The government has announced that no private firm or individual will be allowed to explore minerals at Mrima Hills in Kwale county.
The contentious exploration business of the niobium and rare earth metals at Mrima Hills will now be done by the State through the National Mining Corporation which is yet to be formed.
“We want the National Mining Corporation being a parastatal to be the custodian of this asset on behalf of the people of Kenya,” Balala said during a press briefing on Friday.
Balala made his statement after the High Court earlier on Friday, upheld his decision to revoke mining licenses issued in 2013 to private firm, Cortec Mining Kenya Limited.
Justice John Mutungi dismissed a case by the company associated with city businessman Jacob Juma to explore minerals in Mrima Hills, Kwale County arguing that the firm had indeed been given the license unprocedurally.
“Not even Cortec or any other company will be allowed to do exploration at Mrima. It will be handled on behalf of the people of Kenya and especially the people of Mrima and Kwale county as a whole,” Balala stood firm.
Justice Mutungi also ruled that CS Balala acted within the law when he revoked the Cortec license in 2014 together with other 42 other licenses.
“The minister was right and acted within the law in revoking the petitioners’ license as it was invalid and therefore liable to be canceled,” the judge ruled.
The court criticized the mining company for seeking courts intervention yet it had not complied with the laid down procedures.
“A party which flouts the law to get an advantage cannot rely on courts to aid his advantageous position,” justice Mutungi said.
The minerals are estimated to be worth excess of $600 billion but following the new developments, the CS says the next step will now be to appoint a team of geologists who will get the actual value of the minerals.