The Ministry of Mining has embarked in the development of various enabling regulations to ensure effective operationalization of the new Mining Act 2016. Thus far, 19 Draft Regulations have been developed.
Consistent with the need to enhance participation, strengthen accountability and genuine partnerships with industry and other stakeholders, the Ministry of Mining is carrying out a series of stakeholder sensitization workshops on the Mining Act, the Mining Cadaster and the Draft Regulations.
The consultative forum took place in Kisumu on September,21st and 22nd and drew participation from the Ministry of Mining led by the Cabinet Secretary Hon. Dan Kazungu and the Principal Secretary Hon. Ibrahim M. Mohamed; County Government Representatives from Kisumu, Kakamega, Vihiga and Migori and Kisumu and Migori Counties; UN Women Kenya advisor on Mining; representatives from Community Based Organizations; and artisanal miners across counties in Western Kenya.
A first consultative forum had been held on August 16th and 17th drawing representatives from Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa Counties.
From L-R: Some of the women in the mining sector during the forum. Participants showcase some of the mineral ores in a practical session in the forum (Photo by UN Women/ Kennedy Okoth).
The Cabinet Secretary at Ministry of Mining, Hon Dan Kazungu in his key note address emphasized on the need to develop policy frameworks that are inclusive, simple, clear and transparent in order to maximize investment on the second highest growing sector in Kenya.
Hon. Kazungu further unveiled plans to strengthen and enhance capacities through curricular development in institutions of higher learning in partnership with the Ministry of Education and also launch a Kenya National Airborne Geophysical Survey to map resources in the country for clarity on the available resources in the country to be flagged off in Kisumu county at its inception.
Mr. Job Ogonda, UN Women advisor in the Ministry of Mining, congratulated the Ministry of Mining on the strides it has taken towards women inclusivity through the various channels of engagement that include the Women in Extractives forums. He further applauded the efforts of the ministry to develop draft policies that formalize small scale mining.
Unlike the previous regulations, the new Legal and Regulatory Frameworks on Mining takes into account the exclusion of women and other vulnerable groups in the extractive value chain and proposes interventions that, when implemented, will present opportunities for women in mining including:
Transparent Licensing System: Online Cadastre which offers equal access by all to information and licensing, irrespective of gender. It also offers the ability to audit existing licenses and their compliance with the gender requirements of the constitution.
Development of Health and Safety Systems and Standards. Women currently work in risky situations within the mining value chain. The policy proposes interventions to ensure a safe working environment for women in mining.
Support for Women and Youth. The draft policy proposes that the ministry develop specific programmes for women and youth which offers an opportunity to develop targeted interventions that would address bottlenecks such as gaining skills and access to capital and concessions.
Formalization and Mainstreaming of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining. The majority of women in mining in Kenya are in the informal artisanal mining sector, which has little regulation and is often dominated by men. The policy proposes to formalize the sector so that it can be equitable and safe for stakeholders, including women, with all fully capacitated. While artisanal mining has been legalized, detailed regulations are needed to guide the operationalization of this provision.
Mrs. Jane Aluoch Kosome an artisanal Miner in Nyatike Sub-County in Migori County welcomed the efforts by the Ministry of Mining and UN Women to bring such initiatives that empower and involve women in the mining sector to the grass-root level as this breaks the knowledge and societal barriers that deter women from development. She further challenged the ministry to consider including into the policies measures that ensure the environmental effects mining at the community level is addressed.
“Societal perception about women has hindered women from engaging in mining activities Women too have access to licensing as far as mining is concerned and they should not shy off from applying. We have now grown and are more empowered thanks to such training and we pass the same knowledge to other women at the grass-root level.” She pointed out.
At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants proposed amendments to the existing draft regulations that touched on marketing avenues of minerals for small and medium scale miners, financing options from the government, environmental health and safety concerns in the surrounding community during and after mining activities, licensing of small and medium scale miners and its implications and mineral Land ownership concerns; and transparency concerns during the bidding process (evaluation and criteria).
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