Cortec a Mining Company Limited Director Jacob Juma at Milimani Law Court during the hearing of the case where he’s challenging the revocation of Cortec mining license by mining cabinet secretary Najib Balala..
BY SAM ALFAN.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has been accused of having acted arbitrary when he canceled a license issued to Cortec a mining company, the court has been told.
Justice John Mutungi heard that the minister acted outside his power which is vested upon the commissioner of mining and geology.
Cortec lawyer Nelson Havi said that the mining company had complied with the requirement under the Forest Act and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
The decision of the minister to order the cancellation of the license issued between 14 January and 14 May 2014 was unlawful and ought to be quashed by the court.
Mining Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala maintained that a licence awarded to a Canadian firm was invalid in law, a situation that forced him to revoke it.
Through his lawyer Fred Ngatia, Mr Balala told the High Court on Tuesday that the Cortec Kenya was among 43 firms that had been granted licences by the Commissioner of Mines Richard Keya between January and May last year.
The claim was made in a suit in which Cortec is challenging Mr Balala’s decision to revoke its licence to mine Niobium, which it was expected to start exporting in 2016.
Mr Ngatia told the Court that Cortec had not obtained licences from the National Environmental Management Authority licence and the Kenya Forest Service before applying for the mining licence.
This, according to the CS made the special licence granted to it invalid as it had not conformed to provisions of the Mining Act compelling it to acquire the two licences first.
Cortec told the Court that it only needed to get the NEMA and KFS approvals after being granted the mining licence.
The firm claimed it had received a letter from NEMA and KFS to the effect that it had approved the proposed mining project, but that it would be valid for 24 months from the date it was to commence mining.
“KFS had agreed to write a letter of no objection once some conditions had been met,” Cortec said.
Mr. Havi submitted that the action by the Cabinet Secretary is amenable to judicial review proceedings, which the applicant has properly applied to have the same set aside.
He said the applicant had made all the requirement as set out under the mining Act, saying it’s the commissioner of Mining and Geology who ought to summoned the management of Cortec if there non compliant to regulation and rules and not the minister.
Justice Mutungi heard that there was no failure on the part of the applicant to ensure disobedience of the rules and procedureCortec is among the 42 companies whose license were canceled by the government
Basu Company limited also joined the battle but the rival company says it had not been issued with license for exploration Mrima Hills where its competitor has been issued with license.
Cortec have an order stopping the government from issuing or awarding the license at same region to another organization pending the hearing of the judicial review proceedings before court.
The hearing will continue on Thursday 18.