Over the last few weeks, the State Department of Mining (SDM) has undergone positive rigorous changes to accelerate the state of mining activities in the nation.
The key to this was the partial lifting of the moratorium, paving the way for the issuance of prospecting and mining licenses. The mining cadastre, an online system for licensing applications, has since been accessible to the public and investors as everyone rushes to make their case.
Artisanal mining activities have also seen the light as a result of these reforms, with the department vowing to provide licenses to those who organize themselves into cooperatives. Structurally speaking, working in a cooperative group can be more beneficial than an individualistic way of working.
This is a call to action for all artisanal mining operations that employ more than one million miners and continue to be a source of livelihood to the precious stones/metals communities in Kenya’s gold and gemstone mining areas.
ASM Formalization Milestone
The formalization process for artisanal and small-scale mining has been gradual since the 2016 Mining Act which opened the way for this vital sector of the mining economy. Furthermore, artisanal mining committees in 9 counties have so far been gazetted and their operationalization is yet to start due to budget and facilitation of the committee. The committee plays a vital role in issuing and revoking mining permits.
The State Department of Mining (which has since been integrated with the Department of Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs under the new regime) has directed that for an artisanal mining operation to receive a permit, it must be organized into a cooperative. One of the main reasons for such a formation is to ensure easier monitoring to efficiently mitigate the dangers experienced in the mining operations such as mine collapse and harmful chemical exposure in their operations.
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