Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich has formed a taskforce which will within 30 days come up with a report aimed at reviving the Kenya Flourspar mining company.
The report to be shared with the county leaders will then be presented to the Ministry of Mining before seeking audience with the president, in a bid to ensure that the company resumes operations.
Speaking while on a tour of the company in Keiyo South Sub County, Rotich said the taskforce will conduct public participation to incorporate the community’s issues especially in matters of compensation which has been pending since the 1970’s.
“The local community who surrendered land to the government for the establishment of the company were not compensated and its collapse rendered them jobless thus making them suffer a double loss,” he said.
He said the resumption of the company will alleviate the acute problem of unemployment in the country as it has the capacity of providing employment to over 2,000 people directly and many more indirectly.
The Governor said according to geologists, the area has deposits which can provide the factory with raw materials for the next 30 years.
Rotich said the revival of the company will be beneficial not only to the county, but also to the economy of the country as a whole through foreign exchange.
He said once the company resumes operations, he will fight to ensure that the community’s interests will be paramount through provision of jobs, the county benefits from levies to enable it offer services even as the national government gets its share.
Rotich, who called on the county commander to beef up the company’s security, said while most of the machines were still intact, there were some which had been vandalized.
The company, the only one in the county which was started in the 1970’s had been operating for around 50 years before it ceased operations in 2016, affecting the livelihood of thousands of people who depended on it both directly and indirectly.
According to the then Managing Director Nico Spangenberg, the company halted its operations due to prolonged poor international prices for the minerals as a result of entry of players from the Eastern bloc.
The Kenya Flourspar Company at its peak used to export 106,000 tonnes of fluorspar annually, before scaling down in 2014 and finally grinding to a halt in 2016.
By Alice Wanjiru