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Big First Step for Mineral Exploitation in Laikipia County

Chief Administrative Secretary for Industrialization and Trade Lawrence Karanja (left), Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi (center) hold a enhanced copy of Laikipia Mining Report

In a bold and pioneering move, the Government of Laikipia shared the results of a preliminary minerals survey conducted in Laikipia over the last months.

Many of the mineral deposits are known from the basement rock formations of northern Laikipia, (Sosian, Mukogodo East, West, and parts of Segera Wards), an area predominantly owned by Maasai group ranches. 15 minerals were cited in the Conference and preliminary report and are shown below.

The results of this preliminary mineral survey were shared with the public at a Conference on Mining, held in Nanyuki on February 20, 2020.

This conference is a major commitment to the principles of good governance and public engagement, as no exploitation or exploration permits have been granted since this prospecting.

Free, prior, informed consent (FPIC) by Laikipia County is a first in Kenya, coming on the heels of uninformed preliminary mineral extractions in the Kwale Titanium Sands and Turkana Oil Fields.

All subsurface mineral rights in Kenya belong to the State (the public). That’s why FPIC is so important to landowners.

12 of the 13 groups ranches are without community land titles in Laikipia; these must be secured as a priority in order to guard against illegal exploitation of resources under their lands.

Now, it must be determined if these are commercially viable deposits of minerals, and we must reconcile their extraction against other land use priorities – tourism, wildlife, agriculture, rangelands, etc.

The long-outstanding Laikipia County Spatial Plan will help us with this determination, and we urge public engagement and its completion before rushing to mineral exploitation. The County Assembly must also stand ready to receive and vote on legislation that supports FPIC.

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