HomeFeatures & AnalysisExclusive interview with Moses Njiru Njeru, CEO, Kenya Chamber of Mines

Exclusive interview with Moses Njiru Njeru, CEO, Kenya Chamber of Mines

The Chamber is an industry partner of the upcoming Kenya Mining Forum and Mr Njeru will deliver a guest keynote in the session on “Updated Mining Act: a sustainable model for growth in Kenya”.11011

1)    Let’s start with some background on the Kenya Chamber of Mines, your members and your activities.
The Kenya Chamber of Mines, being a business member organization, is the leading mining and mineral sector representative in Kenya. Established in 2001 as a not-for-profit organization, Kenya Chamber of Mines is the preferred interlocutor for the government, communities and other stakeholders in the mining and minerals sector. Kenya Chamber of Mines draws its membership from all the players engaged in mineral development in Kenya. These include: explorers, miners, mineral dealers, mineral processors and players in the mineral development support services. The Kenya Chamber of Mines activities are aimed at providing a voice for the mineral and mining sector in Kenya for enhancement of better environment for mineral related businesses.

2)    What have been highlights in terms of projects for the organisation thus far?
The mining and mineral sector of Kenya had been under the guidance of Mining Act Cap 306 of the Laws of Kenya, which was put in place in the 1933. In the 1990s, the Government commenced the process of repealing the Act, for it was not responding very effectively to the challenges within the mining and mineral sector of the Country. The players in the sector by then had no mechanism to voice their concerns and interests in the process. It is for such reason the Kenya Chamber of Mines was constituted in 2001. I would say our main activity has been to encourage the Government and other stakeholders to ensure that the process of repealing the Legislation, secures a better environment for business. This process has been very lumpy but we are happy at least, a Mining Act No. 12 of 2016 was assented to in the month of May, 2016. More is still required to ensure that the Mining Regulations which have been drafted to operationalize the Act do not place a heavy regulatory burden to the investors and thwart the envisaged potential for growth in the mineral sector while ensuring that the interests of the communities and other stakeholders in the sector are given due consideration. The Kenya Chamber of Mines is currently preparing comments on the drafted Mining Regulations to forward to Ministry of Mining for consideration.

3)    Which projects that you are involved in are you most excited about at the moment?
The preparation of the critical analyses of the drafted Mining Regulations is very exciting. This is because as the project continues, the clarity and contradictions in the Act becomes real.

4)    How promising is the mining industry in Kenya?
Kenya has a good geology which favors presence of minerals. Looking at the mining activities being carried out by the six main producing mining companies and the exploration activities going on, one gets to understand the potential the sector holds. Increasing interests in the exploration work by new companies is another indicator showing promising times ahead. However, Kenya Chamber of Mines is consistent in its mandate to ensure that the environment for investment in the sector is stable and predictable. This is the sure way to sustain interests and investments in the mineral sector.

5)    What in your view are the main challenges?
The main challenge in the mineral sector in Kenya is bringing all the key stakeholders to a point where there is sufficient understanding and trust amongst them. The key stakeholders, in the mineral sector of Kenya are; the Regulator (Government), the political Class (Legislators), the Investor and the community. These groups of people have varying interests and perception on each other. Bringing them to a common understanding for stability in trust and respect is a challenge. But I would say through engagement in workshops and forums like the Kenya Mining Forum, we are slowly attaining the needed trust.

6)    How important is the updated Mining Act in your opinion?
The new Mining Act No. 12 of 2016 is a good document. However, it has a few critical provisions, which we will continue engaging the regulator on to ensure that more comfort for investment is secured. Having it in place is one step forward. We now target to improving the document and ensure it provide the needed stability for investment in the mineral sector.

7)    What is your vision for the industry?
The mineral sector is the next key frontier for Kenya’s economy only if the mentioned stakeholders work together from a common understanding and with a focus on the Nationalism, and not for their individual benefits.

8)    What will be you message at Kenya Mining Forum?
The Geological setting in Kenya denotes potential for mineable mineral deposits. This potential has to be investigated through exploration to reveal the probable opportunities within the mineral sector. The opportunities, when exploited will then provide the needed economic benefits for the Country. The mineral sector will only be of benefit to the community, Government, investor and any other stakeholder only if we will focus on;

–    Understanding the GEOLOGY of our Country and noting that geology does not change overnight.
–    Studying, analyzing and understanding the POTENTIAL presented by the understood GEOLOGY;
–    Understanding and identifying the OPPORTUNITIES presented by the POTENTIAL which is presented the GEOLOGY
–    Aim at securing and sustaining a stable and favorable environment for exploiting the OPPORTUNITIES to achieve the envisaged ECONOMIC BENEFIT for the Country. However, for this environment to persist:
The INVESTOR’S interest must be protected through predictable Legislation and stable Governance structures; the REGULATOR must focus on ensuring that the challenges faced by INVESTOR are addressed in a timely manner while providing guidance and focused service; the interests of the COMMUNITY living around the mine site are looked at by both the INVESTOR and the REGULATOR in a well-coordinated manner; the POLITICS of the day promotes sustainable exploitation of the OPPORTUNITIES in their areas and market the INVESTORS and the REGULATOR to the COMMUNITY for attainment of the much needed SOCIAL LICENCE for stable investment environment guaranteeing increased ECONOMIC BENEFITS.