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Kitui leaders divided on mineral extraction

The Kitui County Governor, Charity Ngilu holding a block of copper. The county has mooted plans to extract the minerals for wealth creation. Photo by Yobesh Onwong’a/KNA.

Fiery  Mwingi  Central MP, Dr Gideon Mulyungi is leading a faction of Kitui political leaders opposed to the Sh 3.4 trillion proposed coal extraction in Mui basin.

Dr. Mulyungi, Dr. Irene Kasalu (County Women MP) and Nimrod Mbai (Kitui East MP) have broken ranks with Governor Charity Ngilu over the coal mining operation until an environmental impact assessment report is tabled.

Similarly, the Wiper legislator speaking in Mwingi  on Sunday, has asked for proper compensation mechanisms, survey of the land and issuance of title deeds to those without the documents.

Kitui County has mooted plans to tap on several geological resources among them industrial rocks and mineral deposits to benefit locals.

The minerals include, limestone, iron ore, Manganese, graphite, coal, gypsum, vermiculite, and gemstones.

Rocks of economic value found in the county include, granite, trachyte, phonolites, marble and quartzites.

According to Diakonia 2014 Research Report on Coal Mining in Kitui County, it notes the extensive coal exploration undertaken in the Mui Basin of Kitui County as well as other parts of the country whose resources were expected to provide about 1,900MW of electricity generation by 2016 and 4,500MW by 2030.

“In most of its sub- counties exploration and excavation of some of the minerals has been done over the years by private investors,” says Lincoln Githenya, a geological resources expert.

However, Githenya lamented that the data from these activities are normally not available to the residents and the county government.

Despite the enormous mineral wealth in the county, he observed that a person who has traversed the county cannot fail to notice lack of mining plants.

“In spite of notable mining companies owning huge lands of mineral resources, they seem to have no intentions of setting up plants in the county,” said Githenya.

Governor Ngilu has reiterated her government’s resolve to protect the interest of Kitui people in the exploitation of minerals.

By  Yobesh  Onwong’a

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