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March 24, 2018

Poor mining laws hurting communities, says NGO

Mining Cs Dan Kazungu at the release of Cabinet approval of Kenya's first mining mineral policy in Nairobi on April 4.
Photo/Enos Teche.
Mining Cs Dan Kazungu at the release of Cabinet approval of Kenya's first mining mineral policy in Nairobi on April 4. Photo/Enos Teche.

The Mining Bill will be a waste if passed without clauses that ensure communities in mineral-rich areas fully benefit from the resources, a non-governmental organisation has said.

The International Alliance on Natural Resources in Africa said laws in most African countries are crafted privately while royalties are discussed secretly between governments and investors, denying communities their fundamental rights.

IANRA which launched a Model Mining Legislation for Africa in Naivasha on Wednesday said corporate social responsibility projects by investors, should also be tailored towards the public’s priorities.

He called on legistlators to borrow from the mining model to tighten the new bill before it is passed into law.

“Among the issues we want to achieve in the near future is to see communities being involved in making decisions about minerals in their area. This can be achieved through having agreements made in public,” said IANRA chairman for Africa Mwikamba Maghenda.

Kenya is among countries with weak mining laws faulted for denying communities most benefits from minerals extracted in their areas.

“While there is wealth within the community, people are still poor. Investors take wealth and leave people poor or even worse than they were before. If the people are not happy it is not worth it,” said Gilbert Sendugwa, coordinator of Africa Freedom of Information Centre.

The mining model has been endorsed by the Pan African Parliament, the Africa Mineral Development Centre and SADC-PF.

A case study in five countries-Kenya, South Africa, Angola, DR Congo and Zimbwabwe by IANRA, shows few communities have low given prior or informed consent, denying them opportunities to be part of decision making and development of projects.

Last year, Kenya was ranked third least attractive country in the world and worst in Africa for mineral investments, trailing Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Kenya was ranked 120 out of 122 in the attractiveness by the Fraser Institute of Canada survey, based mainly on policy matters and mineral potential.

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