Mining in Kenya has since independence been governed by the Mining Act Cap 306, of 1940 which was an adapted version of the Mining Ordinance of 1933. Since its commencement, the Act has been revised twice in 1972 and 1987.
From the year 2004, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has been spearheading the review of the mining law and policy.
Buoyed by the desire to ensure that the process was consultative, ILEG partnered with like-minded civil society organizations to bring on board other sectors of society particularly communities and other stakeholders in the sector and lobbied the relevant government department for inclusion in the mining law review and policy development process. A workshop on ethical mining hosted by ILEG and Kenya Human Rights Commission in 2006 served to bring in more stakeholders on board and mandate the lobby to have a more inclusive and consultative process.
Between January and March 2007, ILEG organized two consultative sessions with artisanal miners from the Migori District in Western Kenya, and with those from Taita Taveta District in the Coastal region. These sessions gave opportunity for communities living in mining areas to voice their views on the existing situation on the ground, inform them of the on-going process of reviewing the mining law and development of a new mining policy. The sessions also provide an avenue through which the community members could present their views and engage in the decision making process.
Unfortunately, despite efforts by ILEG impress the government on the need for a more consultative and inclusive process, the Ministry of Environment went ahead to produce a draft mining bill and present it to parliament. Undeterred, ILEG in collaboration with civil society organizations engaged a consultant to review and give technical input on the policy and legal changes proposed by the government in the draft bill.
Following the adoption of the new constitution in 2010, the Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, Hon. John Michuki appointed a Task-force to spearhead the drafting of legislation implementing on Land Use, Environment and Natural Resource provisions of the Constitution. The mandate of the Task-force chaired by Dr. Donald Kaniaru includes review of existing legislation, proposing amendments and drafting proposed legislation.
The process of reviewing the mining law is near completion with the Minerals and Mining Bill, 2011 near completion. While there still exists challenges in regard to working with the government, ILEG has continued to give input to the process whenever necessary to ensure the passage of a wholesome law that would benefit all Kenyans. Once passed into law, ILEG will begin work to prepare a simplified version of the mining legislation in Kenya which essentially will take the form of a community guide.