BASE TITANIUM LACKS THE SOCIAL LICENSE TO OPERATE

BASE TITANIUM LACKS THE SOCIAL LICENSE TO OPERATE

On 28th September 2017, Hakijamii launched a report “Titanium Benefit sharing in Kwale County” This report undertook a survey of mining benefit sharing in Nguluku being where people were relocated from and Bwiti being the host site in the context of titanium mining in Maumba, Kwale County. The study found out that there is no equitable benefit sharing in that context, with the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti still experiencing dire socio-economic conditions despite the mining project minting billions from titanium exploitation in their backyards.  In regards food access In Nguluku the survey found that only  18.2% of the respondents can afford – 3 meals; 68.2% – 2 meals; 13.6% – 1 meal and 95.5% reported going to bed hungry sometime on the other hand in Bwiti, 5.9% of the respondents can afford – 3 meals; 84.2% – 2 meals; 11.8% – 1 meal 100% reported going to bed hungry sometime. In regards access to health services the report found that in Nguluku one has to travel 8-15km to access the nearest  health facility in (Msambweni, Shimba Hills, Mivumoni), there has been little improvement in healthcare infrastructure despite adverse health impact of mining. In Bwiti, the dispensary is – poorly equipped (few qualified personnel & medication – one nurse & 2 community health workers). In regards right and access to water in Nguluku there isPoor water infrastructure with 63.6% – open wells; 22.7% – tanks by BT; 13.6% – rivers. Waterborne diseases reported due to river contamination, on the other hand in Bwiti 82.4% of the respondents access borehole done by Base Titanium therefore less water challenges. In regards access to education, in Nguluku the nearest schools are 3-6km away being Duncan Ndegwa & Mwadogo Primary Schools, however the schools have registered deteriorating performance due to distance, threats of wild animals, poor infrastructure & learning environment, high teacher-student ratio. There are also many dropouts due to poverty & early pregnancies. In Bwiti Education infrastructure is comparatively better, with 2 nearby schools, with attendance at Base Titanium Primary School being 82.4% although the infrastructure in the school is very poor, compared to Nguluku schools in Bwiti have better school performances in exams there are also a high number of school dropouts due to poverty & early pregnancies. In regards Housing and sanitation, in Nguluku 81.8% of the houses are made of mud & makuti ; 13.6% – mud & mabati ; 4.5% cement & mabati. Only 13.6% with title deeds; 86.4% have no title deeds and all have access to pit latrines. On the other hand in Bwiti, 64.7% of the houses have been made of mud & makuti ; 17.6% – mud & mabati; 5.9% – cement & mabati. 53% of the respondents have title deeds; 35.2% are without title deeds & 11.8% renting. All have access to pit latrines.

A myriad of reasons account for the current situation. The major impediment to benefit sharing has been the poor negotiation leading to the award of the mining licence, a process that did not take into account the needs and interest of Kenyans. The result of these negotiations is a skewed contract for the benefit of the mining operator, but to the detriment of the Country of Kenya in general and the mining host communities in particular. The perceptions of the mining host community varies markedly from Base Titanium’s assertion that it developed and has been implementing its community development management plan with the active participation of 70% of the mining host populations. Due to the failure to adequately involve the local population in developmental decision-making, it becomes extremely difficult for Base Titanium to acquire the necessary “social licence to operate”. The lack of participation and its attendant perception of benefit deficiency is bound to generate tension, resentment and conflict, creating operational and production risks for Base Titanium. This is already being experienced with Base Titanium finding it difficult to access new land for titanium exploration, with local communities refusing to allow further explorations in their land

The report proposes the creation of a Community Mining Trust Fund (CMTF) as a benefit sharing mechanism to manage mining resources for and on behalf of the local communities so as to generate shared socio-economic development and ensure shared prosperity for the mining host communities. The success of such a venture will, however, depend on the good faith support and participation of all the mining stakeholders, especially the mining host communities, the mining right holder and the County Government of Kwale. These stakeholders must work together to improve the socio-economic situation of the mining host communities in Nguluku and Bwiti.