Capital FM (Nairobi)

10 August 2013

Kenya: We Are Not At War With Mining Sector - Ruto

Kwale — Deputy President William Ruto has said the government is not at war with investors in the Mining industry following the recent revocation of a number of mining licenses by Mining Cabinet secretary Najib Balala.

He said the government was simply looking to ensure that proceeds from the mines benefit not only investors but the communities where they are located and the country at large.

The interests of these communities, Ruto said, would be protected in the long term through the adoption of a Mining Act.

"Kenyans are going to be asked for their input in this Act before it becomes operational. We want to regulate this vital industry and everyone must follow the law," he said.

Ruto added that the government was also looking to rid the Mining industry of speculators and middlemen out to make a quick profit at the expense of the Kenyan people.

Even so, Ruto reassured investors that the government would continue to provide an enabling environment for their investments to thrive adding those who follow the law have nothing to fear.

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya who hosted Ruto lauded the government's decision to cancel the mining licenses issued between January and May given there was no National Assembly in place and therefore no one to represent the interests of the affected communities.

He said there were environmental concerns that needed to be taken into consideration before any new licenses were issued.

"In my county for instance Nobium worth Sh51.2 trillion has been discovered but in an area which is a gazetted forest and I also have to wonder about the health effects the mining process will have on my people," he said.

The national and county governments, Mvurya impressed upon Ruto, would also need to agree on how the royalties paid out by the mining companies would be shared out between them.

As those modalities are worked out, Mvurya asked his residents not to sell their land to speculators for easy money but instead lease their land out to the accredited mining companies - when the time comes - for a bigger pay out.

Still on development matters at the Coast, Ruto said the government plans on upgrading the Ukunda airstrip to allow tourists fly there directly from oversees.

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