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NEMA enforcing gold mining regulations in kakamega

National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) officers are touring gold mining sites in Kakamega County, to ensure artisanal miners conform to the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) of 1999.

Western Regional Commissioner Mr. Isaiah Nakoru said the government was concerned that illegal mining was still rampant in the area despite the dangers it posed to human life and environment.

Nakoru said the government intends to gazette all the gold mining sites in Ikolomani, Shinyalu and Khwisero sub counties so that miners are licensed and work in conformity with NEMA regulations.

The Regional Commissioner said that there were more than 8,000 miners who were operating illegally, a situation he said had led to loss of lives due to the rudimentary way the mining was being done.

The RC made the remarks today in Kakamega after meeting a team of senior officers from the environmental body, who are assessing degradation of the environment with a view to taking remedial action.

According to NEMA Director Mr. Charles Mulila, the team is assessing challenges facing mining with a view to streamlining the operations of the sector.

The Regional Commissioner said a committee constituted to oversee gold mining and recommend ways to ensure compliance to EMCA regulations will be reinforced. “We need a multi-sectoral-agency approach so that all stakeholders are brought on board” he added.

Artisanal gold miners also expose themselves to grave health risks since they do not use safety gears such as ear plugs, safety glasses, masks, gloves and gumboots when extracting gold.

According to the ministry of petroleum and Mining-Kakamega county has at least 1.31 million ounces of gold deposits along the liranda corridor which is valued at Sh.171.billion.

The corridor stretches from Shinyalu to Ikolomani, with part of it being in neighboring Vihiga County.

By George Kaiga

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