NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 8 – The government has said it is ready and willing to issue a license to any person or company that wants to invest in prospecting for minerals.
Environment Minister John Michuki however said they wanted people who were not involved in any form of corruption.
He said currently there was no expert report on the discovery of minerals like gold in the country.
“We have had cases where people have gone to prospect for minerals, but by the time we discuss with this person, his papers have already been stolen and somebody else is applying for another license with the same papers using a different name and this is what we are trying to sort out,” the Minister said on Monday.
He said there was a lot of scheming in the mining industry and the problem lied with the lack of a reliable commissioner of mines.
“By the time you get somebody to trust, you are probably nowhere to be able to use that trust,” he said.
He said that they were now in the process of recruiting a Commissioner of Mines.
“And this time, I don’t care whether they are white, black, brown or yellow as long as they can give me service,” Mr Michuki said.
At the same time, the Minister said that Kenya was set to increase its protected areas from the current 10 percent to 17 percent as recommended in a recent meeting on protection of biodiversity in Japan.
Protected areas are those that receive protection because of their environmental value.
He said the convention agreed upon would be available in June next year for member countries to sign.
“Once it has been signed with the approval of Parliament, we shall then see what laws we should pass in order to provide for the execution of this,” he stated.
He said under the new convention, there would be income for the local communities which would ensure there was full cooperation of the locals.
“There are areas which are not declared and they belong to communities. Depending on the benefits arising from the whole of this arrangement, I am sure some communities because of the prospects of revenue will be too happy to convert the areas into protected,” he said.