PS unveils mining goodies awaiting communities

The government is putting in place a framework to streamline mining operations to ensure host communities in counties endowed with minerals derive enhanced benefits from the venture.

Mining Principal Secretary, John Omenge said companies involved in mineral production are now required by law to remit one percent of their gross annual revenue directly to communities where they extract any mineral.

Omenge said the revenue will be paid to host communities under the framework of the Community Development Agreements.

Speaking Friday during a public rally held at Kibisem Dispensary after touring Karebe Gold Mine in Chemase location of Nandi County, the PS said government is processing the revenue sharing policy for disbursement of royalties on a defined ratio of 70% and 20% between national government and the counties, while the local communities will receive 10% in payments.

Omenge said besides courting external investors to assist mineral exploitation, the government plans to revamp artisanal mining to enhance the capacity of groups running small scale mineral processing plants for them to flourish.

Under the new Mining Act, the government has provided special treatment for artisanal mining involving low mechanization. Some of these individuals have been mining for many centuries and their trade runs in the family lineage going back several generations. We owe it to Kenyans to make these industries productive, he said.

The PS said the mining sector is thriving, adding that host communities are set to enjoy additional benefits through the local content provision in law.

He noted that mining companies were expected, as per the law, to give preference to host communities in procurement of goods and services needed to support the running of these extraction industries.

Omenge therefore asked counties to develop capacity of local residents to enable them take advantage of these benefits, so as to grow their business enterprises.

The PS also encouraged investors to negotiate long term leases from landowners, to allow them an opportunity to recoup their investments and minimize volatility in the sector.

He said the National Land Commission has been tasked to formulate a policy guideline to regulate resettlement in instances, where private land will be acquired to pave way for industrial installations.

The PS said personnel from the directorate of mining will be deployed to the counties to oversee mining activities and monitor mineral ores being shipped out of the devolved units to ensure accountability.

He said Nandi County is the leading producer of gold in Kenya followed by Narok, adding that other minerals being mined in Nandi include Bauxite and aggregates.

The Managing Director of Karebe Gold Mine David May asked politicians to stop meddling in the affairs of the company, but instead support initiatives by investors that help boost the national purse.

Nandi County Commissioner Mohammed Barre advised leaders to be open-minded in their dealings with investors saying inflammatory language will drive them away.

Source: Kenya News Agency