• April 16, 2024
  • Last Update April 16, 2024 4:29 PM
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Mining CS discloses plans to decentralise labs to enhance mineral testing

Mining CS discloses plans to decentralise labs to enhance mineral testing

Mombasa,

Wednesday, April 3, 2024,

KNA by Fatma Said

Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya, has unveiled plans for the comprehensive upgrading of laboratories nationwide, aimed at elevating the country’s Minerals to International Certification Standards.

Mvurya said that the government intends to also decentralise laboratory services across the country to ensure widespread accessibility.He announced the imminent establishment of nine new laboratories, a strategic initiative aimed at boosting mineral testing and sampling capabilities.Speaking during the Updating of the 13th Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Environment, Forestry, and Mining on Progress in the Mining Sector Retreat at The Marina English Point, Mombasa, he further disclosed that the tendering process for these projects has been completed, with contractors poised to commence construction soon.

This concerted effort, he said, underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of mineral testing procedures, thereby fortifying Kenya’s mining sector infrastructure and facilitating its sustainable growth.

He outlined plans for the construction of the nine laboratories in a cluster of counties, including Embu, Kwale, Kilifi, Busia, Kakamega, Isiolo and Marsabit noting that this strategic distribution aims to ensure equal support to areas historically underserved in the mining sector.

This infrastructure development seeks to enhance local capacity, foster economic development and promote sustainable resource management.

Regarding Royalties, the CS noted that since the enactment of the Mining Act in 2016, there had been no distribution of mineral royalties until now.

He disclosed that a framework had been established, resulting in the release of 2.9 billion Kenyan Shillings to 32 Counties, representing an accumulation from 2016 to date.

“We are now working closely with the county Governments to make sure that investors pay their dues and from this Financial Year, there will be consistency in sharing the Mineral Royalties, 20 percent to national Government and 10 percent to the local Communities,” Mvurya said.

He said that there are 14 strategic minerals which are of high value, energy transition, citing examples of coal tan, copper, nickel, lithium and graphite and 56 which are industrial and for construction like limestone, titanium and base metals.

“Kenya is now attracting investors in mining, buoyed by the regulations that we have been putting in place, including making sure that people get licenses. We have received more than 1200 applications,” he noted.

“We now have fluorspar mining investment worth Sh4.8 billion, gold processing investment worth Sh5.8 billion as well as granite processing worth Sh2.5 billion while titanium mining has been going on in the country for the last 10 years,” he added.

He said that they are now focusing on enhancing the marketing efforts with a keen emphasis on identifying key minerals and issuing expressions of interest to attract additional investors.

The chair of the Committee, Charles Kamuren, highlighted the objective of the retreat, emphasising the committee’s desire to gain comprehensive insights into the department’s efforts towards advancing the Mining Sector in Kenya.

“We increased the allocation from Sh136 million toSh 4 billion and we now aim to monitor closely whether the funds have been utilised as intended.” Kamuren said.He added that their focus is ensuring accountability and effective utilisation of resources allocated to support various initiatives within the mining sector.

“We have observed conflicts in Marsabit, Migori and other Counties related to mining licenses, and the CS has enlightened us that these licenses have been temporarily halted for the purpose of rearrangement,” Kamuren noted.

He emphasised that the Committee’s focus is on understanding the details of this rearrangement and the measures being taken to address the situation and improve the livelihoods of Kenyans affected by these conflicts.He concluded that they are also going to discuss strategic Mining so that they can be aware of what the department is planning as the retreat is ongoing.

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