Kenya: mining licence process map

19 August 2020

What is the process for awarding mining rights in Kenya? What steps must the company and the government follow?

This ‘licence map’ presents this process as a step-by-step guide. It sheds light on a process that is often complex and complicated, making it more transparent.

Kenya mining licence map

In Kenya, all minerals are vested in the national government in trust for the people of Kenya.

This licence map describes the process of awarding the Prospecting Licence (PL), which allows a mining company to search for and define the extent of a mineral deposit and to determine its economic value. A holder of a prospecting licence enjoys exclusive rights to carry out prospecting operations in the areas covered by the licence.

Companies do not apply directly for mining leases but must first apply for a PL, which is then graduated to a mining lease.

The Mining Act 2016 governs the process of awarding mining rights. Mining licences are awarded on a first come, first served basis and are administered by the Mineral Rights Board. This is a statutory authority that provides recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, who is ultimately responsible for awarding mining rights.

Applicants can then apply for the Mining Licence, which involves undertaking a mining feasibility study on the established mineral deposit, conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment and obtaining an environmental licence.

The term for a prospecting licence is up to 3 years and renewable only twice (9 years in total). The term of a mining licence shall not exceed 25 years or the forecast life of the mine, whichever is shorter and is specified in the licence. This is renewable for up to 15 years or for the remaining life of mine base.