The Star (Nairobi)

15 April 2014

Kenya: New Investor to Mine Iron Ore in Taita Taveta

The Taita Taveta government has brought a new investor to extract iron ore at Kishushe even before solving the current land dispute between Kishushe Cooperative Society and the Wanjala Mining Company.

The sacco and the mining firm are entangled in a boundary dispute at Kishushe in Wundanyi constituency. Two months ago, Mining Secretary Najib Balala issued a directive to the county government to sort out the dispute between Wanjala Mining and Kishushe sacco.

In February, during his tour to mining sites in the county, Balala issued a directive to the Taita Taveta government to solve the land dispute within 21 days failure to which the ministry will take its own action.

Kishushe Trust Fund chairperson Davies Nyambu told the Star that residents had not been consulted prior to the awarding of an exclusive prospecting licence to Messrs Samruddha Resources Kenya Ltd.

"We want the county government to come out clear in the mining activities in Kishushe. Public participation is our constitutional right. You cannot bring an investor and consult people later," he said.

The county assembly's Natural Resources Committee chair Ray Mwangola told the Star that the company officials had not met with MCAs but will meet them later this month.

"We had scheduled to meet the company officials earlier but it was not possible because we were too busy. We have planned to meet them later this month," he said.

Two weeks ago, Lands executive Kenneth Mwaita, led two surveyors from the county government in establishing the boundary between the cooperative society and the community land on which Wanjala Mining is extracting iron ore.

"This technical team has heard all grievances in relation to the mining activities that have been going on here. Our duty here today is to ensure the problem is solved amicably," he said.

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