Investors in the mining sector will be able to apply for mining licences in June after the government announced plans to lift a three-year ban on issuance of mining rights.
Speaking during a plenary session in the Senate, Mining CS Salim Mvurya said the moratorium was imposed in 2019.
“We are almost done with the process to streamline and in a month’s time, investors will be able to apply and renew licences to carry out mining activities,” said Mvurya.
The ban on issuance of new rights was imposed in 2019 to avoid interference of a process that had been started to map natural resources countrywide, including minerals.
According to Mvurya, the suspension allowed the government to establish the data on the available minerals.
“This allowed us to address the data gap which would have resulted in losses because it would have been impossible to regulate the sector without the information,” the CS said.
The geo-survey report indicates that Kenya has 970 mineral occurrences.
“We have also been able to do a comprehensive audit of all the mining licences that had been issued before. We have had an opportunity to clean our register,” Mvurya said.
According to him, the ministry has done ground-truthing in 16 counties to establish the varietiy of minerals available.
Following the streamlining of the sector, Mvurya said some of the minerals will be processed and value added locally to boost the economy and create new jobs as well as reduce losses incurred during exportation of raw minerals.
“Even processed minerals will not be the final products. The price of what will be sold after processing will be higher,” said the CS.
Taita Taveta and Voi were listed as areas that will get a gemstone processing plant due to the high occurrences of the mineral, while Vihiga will get a granite processing factory and a gold refinery in Kakamega county.
“Once we confirm Tharaka Nithi has enough deposit of copper, they will be able to take care of value addition in Mount Kenya and the larger Eastern region,” he said.