Principal Secretary in the State Department for Mining Elijah Mwangi has taken a moment to share with us some key reforms being undertaken to streamline this very important sector.
In a candid one on one interview in his office, the PS highlighted some of these reforms:
“We have been conducting ground truthing and confirmatory fieldwork on the identified 970 mineral deposit occurrences across the country.
The fieldwork aims to confirm the mineral’s existence, quality, and quantities.”
The Mining, PS said that in a bid to improve the mining sector and ensure it contributes the targeted 10 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030, the government has undertaken various reforms to make the sector viable and economical.
The PS alluded that the Department has developed several legal regulations to govern gemstones, identification and value addition, licences and permits, dealing in minerals, royalty collection and management, and mine support services, which he noted are at an advanced stage of approval.
The PS said the government has lifted the moratorium it imposed in December 2019 to undertake significant reforms.
He said for transparency in the issuance of mineral rights, the State Department of Mining has taken measures to ensure that the online mining cadaster is operational, a move he said will enhance accountability and openness in the process of awarding licenses and permits.
“Over 3000 illegal operations have been issued with stop orders. The Ministry has also profiled illegal miners and mineral dealers in view of closing all their operations,” disclosed the PS.
The PS said his ministry is setting up an enforcement team in collaboration with other government agencies to stop illegal mining deals, adding that plans have also been initiated to encourage in-country mineral processing and value addition.
He said the moratorium that was lifted on October 3, 2023, on all construction and industrial minerals shall enable Strategic Minerals Mining rights to be processed on a case-by-case basis as per the Mining (Strategic Minerals) Regulations, 2017.
“To enhance compliance, a special police unit shall be seconded to the State Department for Mining to deal with mineral smuggling,” he said.
The PS announced that artisanal mining activities have been decriminalised and directed artisans to form marketing cooperatives for consideration of the issuance of artisanal mining permits by artisan mining committees.
He at the same time directed that all transporters of minerals must obtain road transport permits from the regional mining offices, for which loading of the minerals and sealing of the containers must be witnessed by the regional mining officers.
The department has also directed gemstone dealers in Voi to operate from the Voi Gemstone and Value Addition Centre and mining officers at all points of entry and exit to authenticate mineral consignments.
“Mineral markets shall be opened in all regions to facilitate trade, and all mineral dealers shall be required to operate from the set markets,” emphasised the PS.
The PS thanked all investors and players in the sector for their patience during the period when the department was undertaking reforms while encouraging them to adhere to regulations as the ministry continues to enhance service delivery.
The State Department of Mining is rolling out a stakeholder engagement in the next two weeks to discuss how the reforms in the sector can be improved.