Extractives Sector (Mining, Oil and Gas)
970 MINERALS DISCOVERED ACROSS THE COUNTRY
A recent geological survey conducted by the Kenya ministry of mining has revealed that the country has immense underground wealth of about 970 minerals across the country. The data collection, conducted aerially, commenced in April 2021 and ended in July last year having covered an area of 538,420km2 onshore. copper, graphite, manganese, iron ore, coltan, base metals, nickel chromite, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, thorium, nickel-cobalt, are some of the minerals that exist across different counties in Kenya. The minerals have been classified as “potential prospects” opening doors for further exploration to help determine the nature, economic viability and estimated total worth. The 970 minerals discovered include industrial minerals, base metals, precious metals, rare earth and radio-active minerals, gemstones, construction and building materials, and geothermal resources. The Ministry has identified 15 counties of great interest, and which are considered to have the highest prospects of the identified minerals, these counties include: Kitui, Embu, Tana River, Kilifi, Isiolo, Makueni, Taita-Taveta, Kwale, Homa Bay, West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Nandi and Kericho. The counties will be subjected to a ground truthing process whose results will inform exploration decisions. If the process of confirming these critical minerals, first in the 15 select counties considered well-endowed, is successful, Kenya will join the League of Nations that mine thorium, nickel and cobalt, among others. According to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the mining sector currently contributes less than 1 per cent of Kenya’s GDP but has potential capacity to contribute 4 to 10 per cent. “Our aim is to make sure that the mining sector adds and contributes to the economic growth of our country, and also benefits the residents living in those areas with minerals,” said the Mining Cabinet Secretary Hon. Salim Mvurya.
Mvurya Salim Mgala, Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs
The Mining Cabinet Secretary Hon. Salim Mvurya has assured that upon confirming availability of economically viable deposits, residents and county governments will then be engaged in providing consents to mining companies ahead of the ministry granting exploration and mining licences,” he said. According to the Mining Act, 2016, sharing of mineral royalties is at a ratio of 70 per cent to the national government, 20 per cent to the county government and 10 per cent to the communities. Unfortunately mining communities such as the Kwale community where Kenya’s largest mining company Base Titanium is operating, have been waiting for more than a decade to receive their share of the royalties which the company has already remitted to the national government. Mineral royalties collected since 2016. A total of KES 14.7 Billion in form of royalties have been collected by the ministry since 2016. The delayed disbursement of royalties to a large extent is hurting economic benefits to the affected communities and fuelling conflicts between investors and communities. The government recently signed into law the Allocation of Additional Funds Act making it possible for counties to access their 20 per cent share which is equivalent to KES 2.9 billion. A task force has been established by the Ministry to come up with regulations that will unlock the 10% community share.
REVIVING ARTISANAL MINING COMMITTEES & ESTABLISHING COOPERATIVES
The Kenya Mining Cabinet Secretary has indicated that the ministry is in the process of reviving artisanal mining committees in the various counties, which will issue permits. “We have decided to form cooperative societies so that then they can help artisanal miners in doing their business. We want to build the capacity of artisanal miners to enhance sustainable mining operations and promote effective participation in the mineral value chain. We also want to strengthen the participation of women and youth through the entire artisanal value chain, including trading,” said the cabinet secretary.