Mining firm’s work illegal, says ministry
What you need to know:
- The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), which has denied giving the company approval, and the Kenya Forest Service, the custodian of the Mrima Hills, also applied to join the suit
- Cortec, which has been prospecting at Mrima Hills in Kwale, recently announced it had discovered minerals worth more than Sh7 trillion
A prospecting licence that Cortec Mining has been using was issued before the company was incorporated, making all its work illegal, the government has said.
In response to the company’s application challenging the cancellation of its licence, Mining Principal Secretary Richard Ekai accused Cortec of obtaining its prospecting and mining licences irregularly.
The response came as another company claimed it was licensed to operate in the area claimed by Cortec.
Basu Mining Ltd’s lawyer was in court on Tuesday with an application to join the suit.
The National Environmental Management Authority (Nema), which has denied giving the company approval, and the Kenya Forest Service, the custodian of the Mrima Hills, also applied to join.
The parties are challenging Cortec’s claims and are expected to back the State.
The court will decide on Wednesday whether they will be allowed to join the case.
Cortec, which has been prospecting at Mrima Hills in Kwale, recently announced it had discovered minerals worth more than Sh7 trillion.
However, when Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala revoked 43 prospecting licences and appointed a taskforce to review 500 permits believed to have been issued irregularly, Cortec was also affected.
Dr Ekai said a Mr Harie Kinosthe Ndungu applied for an exclusive prospecting licence for Mrima Hills on May 15, 2007, claiming to possess a prospecting right.
“Harie Kinosthe Ndungu falsely represented he was presenting the application as an agent of Cortec Mining,” Dr Ekai states in a replying affidavit filed in court on Tuesday.
“This was false in that at the time Cortec had not been incorporated and could not therefore have appointed any agent or taken any benefit in a licence,” the PS said.
The certificate of incorporation was issued to the company on July 4, 2007, the PS said, and since the company had not been formed at the time of the prospecting licence, it cannot claim to have obtained approval from all the relevant authorities, specifically the land owners and Kwale County Council, he said.