Miners in Taita-Taveta County will have to dig deeper into their pockets after licence fees for prospecting rights and gemstone testing were increased.
The new County Finance Act has increased application fees for small scale mining from Sh5,000 to Sh40,000.
The Act Governor Granton Samboja recently signed into law also increased licence fees for large scale miners by Sh10,000 to Sh80,000.
Artisanal miners fees have, however, been reduced in a move aimed at encouraging residents to engage in the lucrative enterprise.
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Residents have been complaining that their land has been taken over by outsiders who control the mining sector in the region.
Figures from the Mining and Petroleum Ministry indicate that about 70 per cent of gemstone in Kenya is mined in Taita-Taveta. However, the proceeds of mining are largely benefiting people from other regions as residents wallow in abject poverty.
For artisanal miners, the application fee will remain at Sh3,000 and prospecting fees per mining consent at Sh10,000. The fee for renewing prospecting licence will be Sh5,000. Hiring a compressor per day will cost Sh5,000.
According to the law, material testing services using XRF analyser per sample will now be charged at new fees of Sh500,000 from Sh500 while a single business permit for artisanal miners will cost Sh1 million up from Sh6,000.
Professional services on mineral resource management will now cost Sh250,000 per mining claim from Sh1,000. And the new fees for gemstone testing have been raised to Sh10,000 from Sh100.
Fees for limestone, fluorspar and manganese, per mining tonne, has been reduced from 300 to Sh200. Fees for dolomite per mining tonne is now Sh170 from Sh300 and iron ore per mining tonne has been reduced from Sh1,000 to Sh500.
Deputy Governor Majala Mlagui, who is also a mining expert, called for fair sharing of the proceeds of minining between the county and national governments.