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MP wants mining deals to benefit locals more

By By JAMES OMORO | December 7th 2013


KENYA: Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has been urged to weed out agents who exploit legal loopholes to undertake illegal exploration and extraction of minerals.

Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga (pictured) said some unlicensed companies claiming to have roots in Britain, South Africa, US and China had infiltrated the sector and are mining illegally in several counties.

“Balala should know there are dangerous brokers who have infiltrated the industry. Many purport to be foreigners and use fake prospecting documents,” Anyanga said.

 The MP, whose constituency has mineral deposits in Macalder area, said illegal prospecting and mining would plunder the country’s resources and impoverish communities.

He called for  transparency in the management and administration of minerals.

Anyanga said Balala should work closely with residents and administrators to restore order in the industry, warning that ignoring the interests of local communities would be dangerous.

“Balala’s ministry should send technical teams to work with local communities in all the areas where minerals are found,” Anyanga told Weekend in Business yesterday. The MP said Government should give preference to local companies for prospecting and mining.  “The management of mining sector should be a preserve of the central government. Counties have no business in it because such a situation will likely lead to misunderstanding between the two levels of government,” he said.

 But according to Balala, there is no cause for alarm since new regulations introduced in the sector will ensure there is a level playing field.  

“We are revoking all licenses from miners and mining companies to understand the process used to issue them and confirm that the people they were awarded to are qualified to hold them,” Balala had noted.

In August, Balala admitted some of the licences were issued under questionable circumstances to unqualified people and companies.

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