Small scale miners in Taita Taveta have lamented over exploitation by illegal brokers.
Members of Aaliya Minerals and Environment Conservation Group, which deals with prospecting and mining in Mwatate constituency said that the brokers who are rich individuals from the region and others from outside the country usually strike at the mines immediately they get information that gems have been discovered.
Dominick Mbogholi, a miner at the Aaliya mine said that they sometimes sell a gemstone worth shillings one million for just ten thousand since they are poor.
"Sometimes you work at the mine for more than six months yet you have a family depending on you.Once you get the gemstones you would like to get quick cash no matter how little it is," he said.
He said that the geology ministry has not supported them in any way.
The miners also lamented lack of equipments at the mines which they said has been making their work difficult.
"Our challenges here are many.We lack proper machines to make our work easier despite the availability of high value gem stones in this area," Mbogholi told Taita Taveta gubernatorial aspirant John Mruttu who had paid a visit to the mines.
Mbogholi said that sometimes they depend on food supplies from the brokers since they cannot sustain themselves at the mining camps due to high poverty levels.
"We need loans to enable us purchase compressor machines and also buy food.However the government does not care about the mining industry despite its high potential," he said.