By Caroline Kago

NAIROBI, Investors in Kenya’s mining industry are now required to have at least 10 billion shillings (about 98 million US dollars) capital and a work plan in order to bid for an exploration licence, says Mining Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Dan Kazungu.

He said here Wednesday the requirement was part of a strategic plan which the government was working on to ensure that Kenya’s nascent mining industry would be able to earn the country at least 300 billion shillings in royalties annually within the next ten years.

Kazungu said he would establish a new modern and progressive regime which is transparent and predictable and secure equitable benefits for Kenyans.

For a mining company to get an exploration licence, Kazungu said, it must present detailed work plans and reveal how much they are willing to spend as well as the capital base which should be at least 10 billion shillings.

He said the government would soon conduct aerial surveys to map the country’s mineral resource base.

Kenya’s mining industry has played a peripheral role for the past decade, with exports accounting for just 1.0 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Last year, former Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala cancelled 65 prospecting and mining licences and Kazungu urged the affected miners to re-apply for licences through the ministry’s Web portal. He said they would receive a response within 91 days.

The government is targeting to significantly increase the amount the mining sector earns the country in royalties annually to at least 440 billion shillings with gold mining to contribute the largest share of this.

Source: KBC