Kenya has drafted 14 mining regulations to strengthen the government’s capacity to manage exploration and extraction of minerals.
The proposed Minerals and Mining Policy recently approved by the Cabinet, is anchored in the Mining Act, 2016, which came into effect on May 27.
“The new law enhances Kenya’s competitiveness by providing a stable, predictable and transparent investment climate for exploration and mining,” Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 6 assented to the Mining Act, 2016, which replaced the Mining Act Cap 306 of 1940s, the Trading in Unwrought Precious Metals Act and the Diamond Industry Protection Act.
The new law reduces the powers of the Cabinet Secretary by giving some of their functions to the Mineral Advisory Board (MRB), which is responsible for governing sector by approving licences.
“This is consistent with international best practice, where policy, regulatory and commercial functions of the government are separated to enhance good governance,” said consulting firm KPMG East Africa.
The proposed rules are the Community Development Agreement Regulations, Award of Mineral Rights by Tender Regulations, Mining (Use of Assets) Regulations, Dealings in Minerals Regulations, Strategic Minerals Regulations, Mining (Employment and Training) Regulation. Others are Guidelines for Work Programmes and Exploration Reports, Mining (Use of Local Goods and Services) Regulations, Mine Support Services Regulations, Mining (State Participation) Regulations, National Mining Corporation Regulations, and Mineral Royalty Regulations.
The new Act establishes the State Mining Corporation to undertake commercial activities on behalf of the government; the Directorate of Mines to regulate the sector and the Directorate of Geological Survey to develop a geological database and promote interest in the mining sector.
The Ministry of Mining is required to set up a commodities exchange to promote trade in minerals while county governments will be involved in provision of consent for licensing, surface rights and community participation.
The National Land Commission, a constitutional body in charge of management of land, also has a role in licensing of mining operations, especially where such operations involve the acquisition of land and resettlement of communities.
“The Mining Act represents the development of a modernised legislative framework, which introduces a grid system to limit mineral rights disputes due to overlaps in licensed areas,” said KPMG’s senior manager for energy and natural resources Jean Githinji.
The law recognises small-scale mining and gives clear processes for establishing safe operations, a departure from the previous legislation, which also outlawed artisanal mining. The changes allow communities to undertake mining activities in safer environments.
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