11 January 2014

Kenya: Mining Probe Findings Expected Next Week

MINING companies whose licences were revoked last August will know their fate next week when the taskforce that was set up to probe the approvals presents its final report.

The taskforce on review of prospecting and exploration of mining licences and agreements which was set up last August to probe the issuance of exploration approvals by the Ministry of Mining has completed the investigations and is scheduled to handover the report to cabinet secretary Najib Balala before end of next week.

Balala cancelled mining licences of 43 companies issued between January and May last year noting that the speed at which the approvals were issued before the general elections and during the government transition period was suspect. The taskforce was further asked to investigate all licences given from 2003.

"We have finished compiling the report and should be presenting it to the cabinet secretary in the course of next week...it was delayed because of the holidays, Kenya at 50 celebrations and some protocol issues," the secretary to the taskforce Mahat Somane told the Star.

The taskforce which was initially meant to conduct its work and give Balala a report within 60 days from August 5 had its term extended and were given another deadline for December 1.

The probe team that was chaired by lawyer Mohamed Nyaoga was tasked to find out whether correct licensing procedures were adhered to while issuing companies with prospecting, exploration and mining licenses.

In its final report, it is expected that the taskforce will detail how all of these licenses were issued out and then recommend measures for developing processes and institutions to effectively comply with the licensing procedures.

The taskforce gave an interim report on October 4 last year which showed that there was massive corruption in the approvals process and a lot of speculators in the business who got licences but had no capacity to explore for any minerals.

Last week, Old Mutual Kenya in its annual economic outlook for 2014 said that Base Titanium's first mineral exports expected to start any time now will be a major boost to the country's economy. Old Mutual projected that the shipment among other crucial exports will see the country achieve a gross domestic product growth of 5.4 per cent.

Base Titanium has started transporting its ilmenite minerals from Maumba mining site to Likoni port in readiness for shipping in early February subject to securing an export licence from the government.

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