By WINSLEY MASESE
KITUI, KENYA: Coal mining in the Mui basin of Kitui County is set to start following an agreement between the local community and government on the modalities of sharing the benefits.
The project, which had stopped following a court case, is expected to add over 960 megawatts of energy onto the national grid.
Mui Basin coal project is part of the ministry’s ambitious project to generate and distribute over 5000 megawatts of energy in the next 40 months to power the country’s long-term development plans.
“We have deepened engagement with the local community by holding discussions and we are in agreement that the project proceeds,” said Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir.
The cabinet secretary was speaking during a parliamentary committee on Energy, Information and Communication at the Continental House, Nairobi yesterday.
Kitui Central MP Joe Mutambu who was also present during the meeting said a court case would be dropped to pave way for the development of the area.
“We are only waiting for the President to commission the project and nothing can stop it as it has the ability to create jobs and wealth for the community,” he disclosed.
The MP, who is among local leaders involved in the discussions, said the issues raised have been addressed and the progress is good.
He said the Benefit Sharing Agreement (BSA) was well negotiated with the agreement reached by both legal teams.
During the meeting chaired by Jamleck Kamau (Kigumo), Mutambu observed that the project is already generating considerable interest.
He said that a good number of prospective business persons have shown interest in setting up companies in the area dealing in cement, steel and ceramics.
The stakeholders are expected to sign a BSA, which would spell out the manner in which the returns from the project would be shared.
The agreement is ready for signing after review of the document led by the Law Society of Kenya Chairman Eric Mutua on behalf of the community.
Chirchir said part of the problem emanated from lack of information, which they intend to sort out by deploying a senior liaison officer to handle any issues before they escalate to the national office.