Kenya’s Mining Ministry has resolved to involve the country’s County governments in the setting up of mineral licensing procedures. The Ministry has committed to ease access to information by making mining policy, laws, regulations and operating requirements available online for stakeholders.
In a meeting chaired by Mining Ministry Principal Secretary Dr. Ibrahim Mohamed industry stakeholders, including the Kenya private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) agreed to cooperate by involving County governments in their role in mineral licensing procedures.
Dr. Mohamed said the move is aimed at boosting transparency and easing access for stakeholders seeking to branch into the sector.
KEPSA, Kenya’s national regulatory body for the private sector, lauded the deal as a step forward in the country’s fight against corruption.
The meeting, which was held in Nairobi on October 10, 2017, follows the launch of Kenya’s Corruption Risks Assessment Report in Mining Awards, an event held earlier this year in a bid to stop the graft that has been plaguing the sector.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Mohamed stated that Kenya has adopted many international best practices, codes and standards to address corruption.
“As a Ministry and as part of the government’s commitment on the subject, we appreciate that the fight against corruption requires concerted efforts,” he said at the time.
The Ministry has been addressing capacity issues that have hindered the growth of the sector in the past. Training programmes have been implemented from as early as July this year while inductions and refresher courses for the Ministry’s technical staff are ongoing
Dr Mohamed said his ministry has so far recruited close to 100 technical officers in various professions. These include Geologists, Inspectors of Mines, Chemists and Cartographers.
Despite housing caches of oil, gold and various precious metals, Kenya’s mining industry is still embryonic. The Ministry of Mining states that the country lacks the infrastructure to fully exploit these resources. Nonetheless, international mining sector stakeholders have seen the sector’s potential. British mining company, Tullow Oil for instance, has taken a keen interest in the country’s fuel reserves in recent years.
Since 2012, Tullow’s successful drilling campaigns in Kenya have put the country’s South Lokichar Basin on the map.
“An accelerated exploration and appraisal campaign was completed in the basin and initial assessment indicates recoverable resources of up to 750 million barrels of oil,” the mining firm said in a past statement.
The drilling company restarted exploration in the basin late last year and expects to begin oil production by the year 2021.
Dr. Mohamed said the country’s government is committed to making mining the next growth sector of the economy.
By Dennis Lukhoba