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Cortec boss expresses shock as Kwale County official say deals were not open

COAST
By -TOBIAS CHANJI | August 8th 2013

By TOBIAS CHANJI

“Tobias, it is a long story.”

That was the reaction by Cortec Mining Kenya Ltd area manager Deon Alberts on the revocation of its company’s licence, together with other 31 mining firms by Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala on Monday.

Alberts, speaking on phone from Zanzibar, Tanzania, wondered how the same government that issued the firm with the licence could again revoke it.

“When we were issued with the licence, the immediate former President Mwai Kibaki was the chief commander of the armed forces while the minister for Mining was Chirau Ali Mwakwere, of course the government was in place,” he explained.

He said they await a full report before knowing the direction to take. The Canada-based company had been awarded a mining licence on March 26 after the discovery of niobium and rare earths at Mrima Hill.

The minerals’ values have been estimated to be more than Sh51.2 trillion and it is claimed Kenya could be the sixth largest producer of the rare metal globally.

Alberts directed further questions to Prof Juma Makopa, an expert in mining who, however, did not answer to our calls even after promising to give an interview later yesterday.

“We support the move by the minister but caution that it must be well intended so that it is not mere public relations to show people that something is being done when actually there are under-hand deals,” said Human Rights Agenda (Huria) executive director Yusuf Lule.

Full report

He said Huria will analyse the full report and its effects, which can in the long run heavily affect small-scale miners when in real sense the target is the large-scale ones.

“We also urge the government to revoke tittle deeds for some of the mining companies that were awarded dubiously. Also to be followed is an audit of land belonging to companies like Bamburi Cement, Athi River and Vipingo,” added Lule.

Former chairperson of the defunct County Council of Kwale, Mr Mshenga Ruga Vuyaa, said it was good news as most deals were not transparent.

Mshenga said Alberts had on several occasions said he had been trying to consulte the governor who has never replied to his mails.

Executive committee member in charge of Land and Minerals Ali Mafimbo accused some firms of hiking the value of minerals.


 

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