The Kenyan government has proposed to repeal a law requiring foreign mining companies to give local shareholders 35 per cent of their projects, according to reports by The International Resource Journal on Monday.
Mining secretary Najib Balala said removing this condition from the Mining Bill would help restore investor confidence and encourage new foreign investment in the country.
“A vibrant mining sector will create jobs and generate significant revenues for the government,” Balala added. “We are here to crowd investors in and not out.”
The 35 per cent law was introduced in October 2012 to help maximise the benefits Kenya reaped from the mining sector, but caused major concern among foreign-owned mining companies already in the country.
Africa-focused gold miner Goldplat suspended its Kenyan operations early this month partly due to uncertainty over the controversial law.
However, news of the revision has not pleased everyone.
Nominaated senator Agnes Zani urged the government to ensure communities living around project sites benefited from the proceeds of business, and to review royalty charges to ensure Kenya benefits from its resources.
Another proposed revision to the Mining Bill is to make royalties three times the amount they are currently.
According to Kenya’s Chamber of Mines, the country now has more than 300 local and foreign firms prospecting for minerals or producing on a small scale, up from less than 30 just two years ago.