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Artisanal mining committees in Mt Kenya region launched

The Ministry of Mining has closed 1,546 mines in the country for failing to comply with the law governing mining.

Speaking in Nyeri town today, when he launched artisanal mining committees in six counties in Mt Kenya region, Permanent Secretary (PS), Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Elijah Mwangi, said that the mines mostly involved in processing precious stones, were closed due to lack of licencing from the Ministry, as provided for by law.

He said the government decriminalized the activities of artisanal mining in 2023, and as per the directive, artisanal miners were required to formalize their operations by organizing themselves into cooperatives.

“As we talk, we have closed down these mines, many of which were operating without consent from the government. We know many are still operational and from tomorrow, we will conduct crackdown using Mining Police Unit that has been formed,” said Mwangi.

The PS who was accompanied by senior ministry officials said that the committees, which have been established and are under the governor, will be mandated to licence artisan mining, commonly known as quarries producing building stones, ballasts and sands, among other products.

“For the last four years, our ministry has not licenced anyone; now that we have launched these committees to regulate mining at local level, this will ensure compliance and payment of taxes,” said Mwangi.

Mwangi added that the licencing will also ensure that safety precautions are observed while doing the work in quarrying and establishment of cooperatives for benefit of minors.

“As a government, we want to regulate this industry, just like what is happening to Boda Boda industry. the lead person will be the governor, whose nominee is the chairman, and will ensure fairness,’’ said Mwangi.

Mwangi’s comments come at a time when Kenyans have raised a red flag over government increased taxation.

By Beth Ndirangu

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