Australian Company Applies for 2 Mining Licences Days After Threatening to Shut Kenyan Operations

A mining corporation in Australia
Archer Imagery

Barely two weeks after an Australian mining company threatened to shut down its operations in Kenya by December 2024, the Ministry of Mining has accepted two mining applications from the multibillion firm. 

The company had announced that it would close its operations due to the depletion of minerals in Kwale County. 

Additionally, the company had voiced its frustration with the Kenyan government through the Ministry of Mining over its refusal to renew mining permits. 

In a Gazette Notice dated Friday, May 24, Mining Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya announced that the company was on the verge of receiving mining permits in Lamu and Tana River Counties. 

Mining CS Salim Mvurya speaking at a government event in Kwale County on September 30, 2023.
Mining CS Salim Mvurya speaking at a government event in Kwale County on September 30, 2023.
Salim Mvurya

For Lamu County, the CS revealed that he was giving notice to the public that the Australian company had applied for a prospecting licence. 

“The application may be accessed from the Ministry’s portal, published in the Gazette, and opened to the public for comment for 21 days from the date of this notice,” the Gazette notice read in part.

“Any objection by any person or community against the grant of the prospecting licence may be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary within 21 days from the date of this Notice.”

In Lamu, the company briefed the national government on its plans to explore Ilmenite, Rutile, and Zircon (Heavy Minerals). 

The area under exploration in Lamu County will be 225.5030km2 or 1049 Cadastral Blocks. 

Prospecting for the minerals will extend to Tana River County, and the company aims to explore 290.6039km2 or 1352 Cadastral Blocks within the two Coastal counties. 

The company has not revealed if it will pause firing 800 of its staff in light of recent developments. 

Already, the mining giant had set aside Ksh1.1 billion for compensation for its employees, including management, semi-skilled staffers, and trainees.

Kenyans lining up for job applications
Kenyans lining up for a job interview in Nairobi in 2019.
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