Four counties in Central formulating mining and quarrying policy

Environment committee in Murang’a after meeting to deliberate on mining and quarrying policy. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

Four counties in Central Kenya are formulating a regulatory framework that will guide mining and quarrying activities.

The policy formulated for Laikipia, Nyeri, Murang’a and Nyandarua counties seeks to strengthen the institutional framework that would help address governance and operational issues.

Through the support of The Nature Conservancy and Nairobi Water Fund, the counties are working on guiding the mining activities, as well as proposing effective interventions.

The policy demands that the counties mobilise stakeholders on stormwater management, construction of dams to harvest flood water, and collection of data on river water levels.

Murang’a Assembly Environmental Committee chairperson Ms Diana Muthoni Kagiri said the formulation of the policy is geared towards ensuring the mining and quarrying activities do not destroy the environment.

She said in Murang’a the policy will have more benefits designed to ensure generational equity and resource use sustainability. 

The community will be empowered with better ways of harvesting water for irrigation and protection of drainage channels according to the ward representative.

“Implementation of the conservation measures has no financial implication on the national treasury and will be mainstreamed in normal departmental operations,” said Ms Kagiri.

More concern is the control of damage caused by stormwater diverted from the roads into farmlands, which has been the cause of protracted conflict between landowners and road authorities.

In Murang’a County, key areas of collaboration will be the conservation of the Maragua River catchment, the construction of water pans, and soil conservation.

Other intervention programmes are carbon sink promotion and agroforestry through the planting of avocado seedlings.  

Muthoni further explained that in Gaturi ward there are fertile spots with iron ore, a mixture of clay for making ceramics and tiles that have been used for decades by residents.

“There is a special clay used in pottery among other needs by the locals who have been utilising the natural resource in some parts of Nginda and Munyutha,” said Ms Kagiri.

The three counties want access to land for commercial mining and quarry activities.

According to Ms Kagiri, the policy guidelines will contribute to higher standards of life for all stakeholders in Murang’a County through a legal framework to conform to the mining and quarry needs.

Mines and quarry activities, the policy states are found within the forest land, with stakeholders focusing on transparent and accountable mining quarrying licensing procedures.

Peter Gathirimu a resident of Githabai village in Nyandarua said the formulation of the policy is a major milestone as the locals will explore the utilisation of the natural resource.

He said locals have much knowledge of local resources thus the guidance will help them exploit them effectively.

“Central region being a food basket is posed to benefit as the road contractors would be required to carefully divert the storm waters from the roads into farms,” said Mr Gathirimu.