Kenya revokes new mining licences

The Kenyan government has revoked all prospecting and mining licences granted during the first five months of the year after complaints about the issuing process.

The licences were allegedly awarded after the dissolution of parliament.

Also revoked were all licenses of mining companies that are registered under the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) – who did so to allegedly evade taxes – and Kenya raised royalties on minerals mined within its borders.

"We are revoking all licenses from miners and mining companies for us to understand the process used to issue them and confirm that the people they were awarded to are qualified to hold them," said Cabinet Secretary for Mining Najib Balala. "Any licence issued between 14 January and 15 May is hereby revoked immediately as we review each case to determine their nature and benefit to the country."

Under the new plans, royalties on gold would rise to five percent of gross sales value from the current level of 2.5 to three percent.

Other minerals, including rare earths, niobium and titanium ores, would see royalties rise from three percent of gross sales value to ten percent.

Kenya's commissioner of mines, Moses Masibo, was also suspended.

The moves follow a sector-wide review and are aimed at ensuring the country gets a bigger share of earnings from its mining industry.

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