The Kenyan government is looking to breathe new life into the country’s mining sector to attract foreign investment. Significant policy and legislative reforms for the sector are ongoing under the stewardship of the newly forms Ministry of Mines and in the midst of increased investor interest in the sector particularly following the recent establishment of the Kwale Mineral Sands project near the coast which is Kenya’s first large scale mining operation. The sector is expected to diversify Kenya’s base for foreign exchange earnings from the traditional tea, horticulture and tourism industries. However, growth in the sector has in the past been slow for various factors including an antiquated legal framework for mining.Kaplan & Stratton has been actively involved in the recent developments in the mining sector. We acted for Base Titanium Limited in the initial acquisition of the Kwale mineral sands project and are acting as local counsel to the financiers of the project. We also provide ongoing legal support to local mining companies including Tata Chemicals Magadi Limited, Africa’s largest producer of soda ash.We have also participated in the ongoing legislative reforms for the sector by providing support to stakeholders (mainly mining companies and lobby groups) in reviewing the laws being proposed by the Government.What's new:The Mining Bill was passed by the National Assembly in October 2014 and passed to the Senate for review. The Senate has proposed additional amendments to the Bill which were provided to the National Assembly in October 2015. Some of the changes proposed by the Senate have been rejected by the National Assembly resulting in the formation of a Mediation Committee comprised of members from both houses to consider the issues raised and develop a version of the Bill that would be acceptable to both houses of Parliament. If the Bill as revised by the Mediation Committee is not passed by both the Senate and the National Assembly, the Bill would be defeated. We understand that the Mediation Committee has concluded its work but its report is yet to be debated before either house.
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