The government has embarked on a crackdown targeting small-scale gold miners allegedly operating gold-leaching plants without licenses in Migori County.
The move is part of an effort to restore order in the sector and ensure that all operating gold plants in the area adhere to all the necessary legal requirements.
It comes barely a few weeks after residents bumped into gold ores during the construction of a road in the region. This sparked a scramble for the precious metal and pushed the government to intervene to restore order.
Now, however, the focus has shifted to miners operating leaching plants without licences.
According to Migori County Commissioner David Gitonga, they have issued 99 miners with notices that require them to comply with the necessary laws.
“We have been able to visit leaching plants that have not complied with the mining acts 2016. If they comply we have no problem with them,” he said.
According to the County Commissioner, out of the 99, only three leaching plant owners have since complied and have licenses and permits with them.
The administration requested all the miners involved in leaching plants in the county to apply for licenses and permits.
Additionally, the government also challenged artisanal miners to organize themselves into groups where the government will support, train and link them up with institutions that can support their operations.
Gitonga said they are also following up to ensure that the government can generate revenue from mining.
The Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs state department for mining had penned a letter dated August 1 to the miners operating leaching plants.
According to the letter signed by Joshua Boiwo who is the Regional Mining officer, Migori, illegal and unregulated dealing with minerals hamper economic growth by undermining formal mining activities.
The letter further read that illegal dealing with minerals reduced investor confidence and denied government revenue.
"Subject to section 159(1) of the Mining Act 2016, a person shall not engage in mineral dealings, either as principal or agent, except with and in accordance with a mineral dealer's license or a mineral dealer's permit," the letter read in part.
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It ordered all illegal mining and dealing with minerals to be stopped with immediate effect.