The Star (Nairobi)

9 August 2013

Kenya: Scrutinise All Mining Licences - Mruttu

Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu wants the government to investigate mining companies that acquired their licenses a decade ago.

Last Monday, Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala announced that the government has revoked all mining licenses acquired between January and May 2013.

He said a taskforce has been formed to look into issuance of licenses to mining companies, which will scrutinize among the companies capacity to undertake mining activities and generate tax revenue among other requirements.

Mruttu said revoking licences for 31 mining companies that were issued between January and May will leave out many defaulters.

Speaking to the Star on the phone yesterday, Mruttu said a scrutiny on explorers who got licenses more than five years ago will end mining conflicts.

"The mining industry experiences poor issuance of licenses to the mining explorers. Those who acquired licenses between that period are properly investigated to ascertain whether they followed the right procedures in acquiring their licenses," he said.

The county has experienced mining conflicts that have led to court orders stopping activities in the disputed mines.

Kishushe residents have been in conflict with Wanjala mining company which has been excavating Iron Ore.

Members of Kishushe Cooperative Society say the company illegally acquired license to mine at their 60,000-acre piece of land.

The members of the cooperative said investors did not seek their consent before they began extracting the iron ore.

The residents get little benefit from the resource and complain that the dust from the mining site poses a heath risk to them.

This has resulted to the County government seeking the support of private partners so that a weigh bridge can be put up in the area so that the exact quantity of iron ore coming out of the region is taxed. Currently,the County earns a paltry sh 74 for a tonne of raw iron ore from Kishushe.

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