The Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs has announced plans by the government to start granting artisanal miners in Kenya permits to operate.
Mining and maritime affairs cabinet secretary Salim Mvurya told a Senate committee that the permits will target gold mining activities around the country, including in areas like Kakamega County.
Artisanal miners currently operate informally as they have not been issued with artisanal mining permits as required by law under Section 95 of the Mining Act, 2016.
The CS said the miners have not been given permits following the imposition of a moratorium by the government on December 2, 2019 stopping the issuance of permits and licenses.
He added that some of the measures already put in place include gazettement of the Kakamega County Artisanal Mining Committee as per section 94 of the Mining Act, 2016.
The artisanal mining committee is composed of members from Artisanal mining in the County.
“All other operators within the County hold Prospecting Licenses while a few have made applications for grant of Mining Licenses over the last few years,” said CS Mvurya.
He however reiterated that the licenses have not been processed so far due the prevailing moratorium on issuance of mineral rights.
On the measures the government has put in place to promote responsible and sustainable gold mining practices, the CS said that his ministry has intensified efforts to promote mining as the next investment frontier.
The ministry, the CS said, has also received funding from the national government aimed at implementing projects geared towards promotion of mining and provision of preliminary investment data.
The statement comes in the wake of the many reported accidents in the mines that have resulted in injuries and loss of lives.
“To ensure that mining is undertaken in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, the Ministry has allocated adequate resources to the regional mining offices and issued instructions for increased inspections and monitoring of Artisanal and small-scale miners,” submitted Mvurya.
“This will ensure that potentially dangerous operations are closed and the risks identified addressed as a precautionary measure,” he added.
CS Mvurya was responding to questions from Senators at the Turkana County Assembly in Turkana County.