Auditor queries delays in artisanal miners’ permits


Auditor General, Nancy Gathungu. FILE PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

The Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has put the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining on the spot for failing to issue artisanal miners with permits leading to a loss of revenue by the government.

Ms Gathungu says the government could not asses and collect revenue due from artisanal mining activities despite Parliament enacting a law seven years ago requiring miners to pay permit fees and royalties to the State.

The Mining Act, 2016 require applicants and holders of mineral rights to pay application, renewal and other fees as may be prescribed under the mineral right.

The law also requires miners to pay royalties for the mineral they mine, except where the mineral extracted is a sample.

Artisanal mining is a traditional and subsistence mining operation characterised by the use of minimal machinery.

“Interviews with miners in sampled regions established that they sold minerals to middlemen who dictated the price of the minerals,” Ms Gathungu says in a performance audit report on Monitoring of Artisanal Mining Operations by the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining.

She said the audit revealed that there was no system in place for tracking minerals bought by middlemen, raising the risk of the minerals being smuggled out of the country without the revenue due being paid to the government.

“Audit findings revealed that the ministry had not developed sufficient measures to monitor artisanal mining operations,” Ms Gathungu said.

She said despite the ministry making efforts in supporting miners to organise themselves into associations and cooperatives in readiness for issuance of permits, the critical processes of formation and operationalisation of Artisanal Mining Committees, mapping and delineation of land are yet to be finalised.

The ministry was to establish 23 Artisanal Mining Committees within five years but only nine had been set up but not operational as of last year.

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