Nairobi — The government has been barred from leasing a site originally given to mining company Cortec until the High Court determines an application challenging the decision of Mining Secretary Najib Balala to revoke the company's licence.
The order by Justice Weldon Korir will remain in force until the judicial review application is concluded. The judge further allowed the company to file judicial proceedings to quash Balala's decision to cancel the mining licence. The judge made the decision following an application filed by Cortec whose licence was cancelled by Balala.
The court directed the company to file the substantive motion within a period of 15 days and serve the other parties in the suit. The case is due in court on October 14 to confirm compliance. Cortec Mining Kenya among other mining companies had their licences cancelled by Balala, who explained they were irregularly awarded.
Cortec was licensed to mine niobium and rare earth metals at Mrima Hills, Kwale County, an area believed to contain minerals in excess of $600 billion. Cortec Country Director Jacob Juma made claims that Balala had demanded a Sh80 million bribe from the company.
Cortec Mining Kenya Ltd, through lawyer Nelson Havi, mid last month filed an urgent application at the High Court in Nairobi seeking permission to commence judicial proceedings against Balala's decision to revoke its prospecting and mining rights in Kenya.
The company also seeks to prohibit the Attorney General and Cabinet Secretary from taking any action that may be detrimental to its interests in the country. It names the two as the first and second respondents.