Government shuts down 3,000 mining companies over non-compliance following a four-year audit.
Following a four-year audit, the government on Wednesday announced the closure of 3,000 companies, including illegal miners and mineral merchants.
Salim Mvurya, the secretary of the mining cabinet, made the announcement following the lifting of a moratorium put in place in 2019 to allow the mapping of the nation’s mineral resources.
At the time, the administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that the suspension was necessary to safeguard the interests of investors and Kenyan citizens in the mining industry.
“During the moratorium, the government undertook significant reforms that have continued to inspire the Mining Sector and make mining viable, and economical and achieve aspirations of contributing 10% to GDP by 2030,” Mvurya announced during the lifting of the ban.
Of the 3,000 companies shut down, Mvurya noted that the number would likely increase as the government had already profiled all illegal miners and operators.
“Enforcement has been beefed up through the Regional Mining Offices. The Ministry setting up an enforcement team in collaboration with other government agencies in fighting the vice,” Mvurya stated.
The move by the Ministry of Mining to shut the 3,000 operations was made a day after the Cabinet recommended a crackdown on illegal mining operations in Kenya.
“The (cabinet) meeting declared mineral smuggling as an economic crime and approved the establishment of a special unit dedicated to compliance and enforcement against illegal mining and mineral smuggling,” a dispatch from the cabinet read in part.
Mvurya further announced that his Ministry had undertaken a comprehensive audit of all mineral rights holders with a view to rooting out non-compliant rights.
“The government has revoked 1546 licences that do not meet the conditions of licensing,” the CS revealed.
In order to create a digital database of minerals following an aerial geological survey by the Ministry of Mining, Kenya suspended awarding mining licenses in 2019.
In 2015, the ministry also suspended license renewals, which caused some investors to leave as a result of resentment from the government and local populations.
The sector’s investments decreased as a result of the suspension of license renewal and exploration, reducing its GDP contribution.