Illegal mining of gold will land you a Sh10 million fine or a prison term of up to 10 years if Parliament approves a Bill aimed at curbing illicit trade in the precious commodity.
The Gold Processing Bill, 2023 sponsored by Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali seeks to introduce stringent measures in the exploration and exploitation of the precious commodity that has always been used by fraudsters to scam innocent people of billions of shillings.
“A person who engages in exploration and exploitation of gold without a permit commits an offence and shall upon conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to both,” reads the Bill.
According to the proposed law which is set to be introduced for first reading upon the House resuming its sittings on September 26, the term of a processing licence shall be for a period not less than 25 years.
Upon getting the licence, the holder shall commence processing operations within six months.
The proposed legislation states that the mining licence will only be granted if the applicant has adequate financial resources, technical competence, and processing industry experience to carry out the proposed processing operations.
The applicant must also obtain an approved environmental impact assessment licence, asocial heritage assessment, and environmental management plan.
While applying for the permit, the applicant will also be required to provide a feasibility study, a statement regarding the gold in the area of land over which the licence is sought including details of all known gold as well as reserves of the metal.
An applicant will also be required to provide a plan indicating how he will employ and train Kenyan citizens. In addition, the applicant will also provide particulars on how he intends to procure local goods and services.
“The Cabinet secretary shall not grant a processing license in respect of land which is the subject of a processing licence or reconnaissance licence, a retention licence unless the applicant is the holder of that licence,” reads the Bill.
The Bill seeks to establish a Gold Processing Corporation which shall among other things, be responsible for collecting, sampling, purifying, smelting, refining, monitoring, and transporting gold or products of gold.