State seeks to streamline mining sector

Mining CS Salim Mvurya. [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

The Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya has announced plans to hold talks with his counterpart in the Environment Ministry over the gazettement of Macalder region as a forest.

The CS wants the two ministries to collaborate with artisanal miners allowed to continue mining at the gazetted mineral-rich land in Migori County.

Mvurya urged artisanal miners to protect the environment by planting trees.

“We want to discuss with our colleagues in Environment so that that we can work together to make sure we also explore opportunities in mining from the gazetted forest,” CS Mvurya said.

There are fears the gazettement of the area as a forest is likely to lock out artisanal miners who have relied on minerals from the area to support their families.

The CS said mining should benefit the locals and there is no reason the communities should be starved of key services such as water, access to health services, and roads.

“As we enhance that potential, we need to make sure that all the mining investment should benefit the local community. Those are the key projects that should be taken care of by all mining investments in the country,” he said.

The CS spoke during an inspection and familiarization tour of Macalder copper mines in Nyatike, accompanied by Principal Secretary Elijah Mwangi, National Mining Cooperation acting Chief Executive Officer Thomas Mutwiwa, and Migori County Commissioner David Gitonga.

Mvurya pledged to fast-track reforms in the mining sector and prioritise value addition and processing of minerals.

Migori, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Siaya, and Vihiga have been identified by the government for gold processing investment which is expected to enhance the capacity of the artisanal miners.

Migori is also being targeted for copper mining.

“We are looking forward to developing and strengthening our opportunities in copper for concession and investments with other private investors,” the CS said.

The Mining Ministry is working to form cooperatives for artisanal miners where they will get permits to do business in an organized environment.

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