The County Government of Turkana has demanded for transparency from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining on mining, oil and gas operations in the county.
In a letter dated 21st September 2020 addressed to the Cabinet Secretary John Munyes, Governor Josphat Nanok has raised issues with disregard of laws and regulations governing the mining sector on issuance of licenses to companies engaged in exploration of gold, gemstones and other precious stones without involvement of the County Government.
“The Mining Act No. 12 of 2016 stipulates that the distribution ration of royalties due from the license holder as 70% of the National Government, 20% for the County Government and 10% for the local community where the operations are based.
“The Act is also clear that the County Government must give consent before a license is issued and approved by the Mining Rights Board. The Mining (Community Development Agreement) Regulations 2017 also establishes the committee that formulates the community development agenda for the license holder with respect to that particular community,” Governor Nanok says in the letter.
He faults the Ministry for engaging 24 mining companies with interest in gold and gemstone without consulting the County Government and for failure to disclose data from reconnaissance and prospecting licenses issued for the county to ascertain what is due to both the County and local community as well as nature of the licenses issued.
The Governor adds that operation of the mining companies must lead to sustainable development of the local community.
On oil operations by Tullow Oil, the Governor raises concern on the lack of communication on decision by the British company to suspend operations last November and reversal of this decision last May.
“Since Tullow suspended its operations in November 2019 and after it invoked Force Majeure Clause on 15th May 2020 for both Block 13T and 10BB, I have not received any formal communication from the State department of Petroleum,” he said. He adds that much was expected from the National Government for better communication as the County Government was a major stakeholder.
The Governor calls for ‘deeper, regular and deliberate stakeholder engagement’ to ensure transparency and accountability to build public confidence in the extractives sector.