The government has repossessed Kenya Fluorspar Company, a mining firm that is associated with the Nicholas Biwott family, after its lease expired.
Mining principal secretary John Omenge told the National Assembly’s Committee on Environment that assets of the company reverted to the government as from April 1 after the firm failed to renew its lease.
“Consequently, the State Department of Mining, as per its mandate, is expected to put in place measures to safeguard the assets which are ongoing,” he said.
He said the company did not renew its mining lease due to depressed fluorspar prices in the international market, curtailing continued operations of the mine.
Charles Field-Marsham, the late Biwott’s son-in-law, acquired the firm in 1996 after the government ceded its stake in a privatisation plan. The former powerful minister in retired President Daniel arap Moi’s regime died on July 11, 2017 aged 77.
He had businesses in banking, oil companies, construction and aviation, among other sectors, that made him one of wealthiest Kenyans.
“The government will look for a strategic investor once the price of fluorspar picks up hence the need to, in the meantime, urgently operationalise the National Mining Corporation as a vehicle in which the assets will be vested,” Mr Omenge told the committee.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows that fluorspar exports dipped to Sh868 million last year from Sh2.9 billion the previous year. “We have put two of our own officers to take care of the Kenya Fluorspar property.
We have also sent there a large contingent of officers who were recently recruited to carry field exercises. We want to take full control of the assets,” he said.
He said that the ministry had identified the assets in full and was working to confirm how much fluorspar is still unexploited.
“The company will give us the assets list. We have sought an environmental and social impact report. We will get details of immovable and movable assets including areas of export in Mombasa and loading at Kaptagat.
“We are working on records of assets including vehicles to ensure we don’t lose anything,” Mr Omenge said.
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