Kazungu says new mining laws to keep British firms in check

Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya’s newly adopted mining law and policy will safeguard the country’s vast mineral deposits against exploitation by foreign entities, Mining secretary Dan Kazungu has said.

Reacting to a report published by a UK charity which depicted Kenya as among African nations losing their massive mineral and oil wealth to British mining firms exploiting weak laws, the Mining secretary said a raft of reforms in the sector will keep mining firms in the country in check to enable Kenyans to benefit fully from the country’s natural resource potential.

“In the absence of a robust framework around policy, legal, regulatory, fiscal regime and dependable data on mining including tested processes and institutions, many African countries have had challenges in managing the mining operations in their country becoming susceptible to abuse,” Mr Kazungu said in an interview.

“That’s why in Kenya we have been in the process of putting everything right. We have been working hard putting out a 20-year strategy on how we shall manage our resources. That way we have minimised the chances of investors coming here to literary exploit our resources.”

He said institutions, including a proposed nine-member Mineral Rights Board, a National Mining Corporation, and a National Mining Institute will depersonalise managing minerals and given Kenya capacity to avoid exploitation.

A British Government spokesperson defended local operations of British companies.

“The UK plays a leading role in supporting Africa to make the most of its oil, gas and mining resources, providing vital foreign investment to encourage economic development, as well as expert advice to help manage resources effectively and stamp out corruption. This is helping accelerate economic growth, create jobs and increase funds for essential public services – which is firmly in the interests of Africa and the UK,” said the spokesman.

Despite the assurances, calls mounted for Kenya to do more to remove the fine line between extraction and exploitation by the foreign mining firms.

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