By NICHOLAS ANYUOR
There has not been large scale Gold mining in southern Nyanza ever since mining companies abandoned the region more than twenty years ago.
It later emerged that the huge gaping holes they left uncovered, still hold huge mineral deposits. This belief explains why many local villagers have been spending long hours prospecting for gold. Many have paid with their lives.
According to Government geologists, the gold deposits in Nyanza Province, mainly in the Southern part can support large-scale mining for up to 15 years. This seems to be true since because the long rains, small-scale miners in Nyatike harvested gold worth Sh15 million, in just two weeks.
Experts estimate that with the use of modern technology, the mining industry could earn the country up to Sh400 million annually.
This translates to up to Sh32 billion in 15 years. Local miners sell cheaply much of the mineral to middlemen.
In the former mining sites, such as Macalder, the former foreign miners damaged huge swathes of land which can no longer support agriculture.
Big caves were left open and many local miners who tried to go in to mines have died after the walls collapsed on them .
In some of the holes, there are pungent and lethal gases emitted which have also suffocated local miners to death.
Many of those languishing in the caves are jobless youths. Some have abandoned fishing and tobacco farming due to dwindling returns.
Some miners die from lung related diseases after inhaling poisonous gases since they have no protective clothing.
Majority of the miners live in poverty because only the middlemen enjoy the fruits of their labour.