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Published: Friday 30 April 2004

-- (Credit: EMKAY)Kenya plans to revise its mining laws by the end of this year to allow foreign investors to explore mineral options. The land, rich with reserves of gold, platinum, iron ore, quartz and gemstones, is a miner's paradise. Currently, mining is said to contribute only 1 per cent to Kenya's gross domestic product. The government hopes to raise this to 5 per cent , even if it is at the cost of the environment.

The reviewed draft mineral law will pare down the licensing authorities' discretionary powers, providing greater security of tenure for the companies. One such firm of Canada, Tiomin Resources Inc, has been pitching for titanium in the African country for long. But according to an environmental impact assessment of the venture, much of the land the company has access to would be strip-mined, over 450 agricultural families would be displaced, and trees, houses as well as schools would be destroyed.

Meanwhile, the government asserted that the mining policy would cover environmental protection, technology transfer, royalties and taxes.

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