The Government will only allow the Kericho gold mine site to reopen upon complying with the environmental, health and safety regulations as stipulated by the Mining Act 2016.
The mysterious gold mine domiciled on a piece of land measuring approximately three acres is located at Kenene village overlooking River Ewaret, has been in operation for the last eight years, without the knowledge of the government and local residents.
Addressing artisanal and small-scale miners on Tuesday, at the gold mine site situated within Bureti Sub-county, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Nakuru Office Regional Coordinator, Sarah Bungei, said her office will provide a checklist which will ascertain whether the miners have complied with the stipulated guidelines before they are given a green light to re-open.
Bungei underscored the need to regulate the artisanal and small-scale mining of the precious metal at the gold mine so that the operations are conducted as stipulated by the existing mining law.
“The Mining Act 2016 recognizes small scale miners as well as artisanal miners and stipulates clear processes for establishing safe operations.
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, the land owner written consent, feasibility study report, miner’s license as well as a dealer’s permit are critical documents needed for mining operations to continue at the Bureti gold mine,” she said.
The Coordinator said safety and health of the miners ought to be strengthened for operations to continue. “The use of leeching is to be discouraged as well as the use of mercury. It is not the best method to use to extract the gold,” added Bungei.
Kericho National Environment Management Authority NEMA Director, Valentine Lala, urged the landlords as well as the artisanal and small-scale miners to work as a team and seek to comply with the all the existing mining regulations for their outfit to continue its operations efficiently.
An artisanal miner, Jared Oracha, said the closure of the gold mine had adversely affected his source of income.
“I have worked for the last 29 years in different gold mines around the country from Migori, Kakamega, Bondo, Ndori, Longorian and now Kericho using the proceeds to educate my three children. It is my prayer that this Bureti gold mine reopens because I have a family back home in Migori who depend on me,” lamented Oracha.
Present during the visit was a mining engineer from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining Nakuru Regional Office, Maureen Mbichi.
The Bureti gold mine ceased operations two weeks ago to allow compliance to the environmental, health and safety regulations stipulated by the Mining Act 2016.
By Sarah Njagi