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Kitui County Government roots for latest mining technology for coal, limestone

COUNTY_LOWER EASTERN
By PHILIP MUASYA | June 25th 2014
Kitui County Executive in charge of Environment, Energy and Minerals Investments Development George Mulatya (centre) shares a word with his Chief Officer Dr Muusya Mwinzi (left) and a participant in Mwingi Wednesday during a county climate change workshop. [PHOTO: PHILIP MUASYA / STANDARD]

MWINGI: Kitui County government has said investors slated to mine coal and limestone in the county will be required to use the latest mining technologies to ensure minimal pollution and damage to the environment.

The County Executive in charge of Environment, Energy and Minerals Investments Development George Mulatya said they have a duty to protect the residents and the environment from greenhouse gases and pollution.

Mulatya revealed that a massive tree planting drive has been launched for Mui and Ngaaie areas where coal and limestone mining respectively are scheduled to kick off soon.

“We have devised strategies to ensure proper management of carbon emissions from the mining of coal and limestone. We are moving cautiously to ensure the minerals in our county are exploited in a sustainable manner without harming the environment and the people, the investors will be required to play their part and ensure minimal harm to both,” Mulatya said.

Fenxi Industry Mining Company of China has been awarded the tender to mine huge desposits of coal in blocks C and D of Mui basin while Athi River Mining Company (ARM) has been given the go ahead to mine limestone in Ngaaie area of Kyuso Sub-county.

The county minister noted that the government is championing for a clear resettlement action plan before communities living in the mining areas are compensated to relocate. “We have a duty to protect our people from being moved to uninhabitable places,” he said.

Mulatya revealed that the county government has partnered with British Department for International Development (DfID) to establish a Climate Change Adaptation Fund at the tune of Sh300 million to cushion the residents from the effects of climate change.

Part of this money will go towards planting of trees in mining areas, conservation of water catchment areas, training farmers on water harvesting and growing of drought resistant crops to ensure sustainable food production even during the changing weather patterns.

Meanwhile the county government has taken over several farmers’ projects that were being funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kyuso and Mumoni Sub-counties under the Kenya Adaptation for Climate Change in Arid Lands (KACCAL) programme, after it came to an end.

Mulatya said the county government will evaluate the projects to see what the farmers have achieved and how the projects can be improved.

The groups engage in constructing of sand dams, growing traditional food crops and keeping livestock and bee keeping among other dry-land agriculture activities.

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