INTRODUCTION OF PHASE II OF KWALE COUNTY PROJECT

INTRODUCTION OF PHASE II OF KWALE COUNTY PROJECT

Hakijamii organized a one week series of activities in Kwale county in June. The aim of the activity was to inform project beneficiaries of the second phase and to pay courtesy visits to prospective partners such as Kwale Natural Resources Alliance and Kwale Artisanal Miners Group based in Msambweni sub county.

Miembeni is one of the villages affected by titanium mining in Kwale county. It is probably one of the poorest villages in the area.We also held a meeting at Magaoni, Vumbu and Bumamani villages. These villages are located along the highway built by Base Titanium Limited to service the mine in Nguluku and Magaoni villages. The participants informed us that currently there are 205 households in Magaoni, 69 in Vumbu and 75 households in Bumamani.

We also held meetings with several county offices. Our first visit was to the Kwale County Department of Natural Resources. During our visit the Chief Officer requested for documents which would help him gain a better understanding of our work. We then held a meeting with the CEC Finance-Kwale County. A wide range of topics associated with allocation of resources and project details were discussed in length. We met with Artisinal Miners in Msambweni and Msambweni Silica Sand Association. The group was formed by land owners on whose land silica sand is harvested for industrial use. Silica sand is used as a raw material in manufacturing of soap and glass. There are numerous companies extracting silica sand in Msambweni such as Central Glass which manufactures beer bottles and Mill Glass which manufactures soda glass. These companies pay Ksh. 4,000 per lorry of silica sand. This amount of money is shared among mine workers; land owner and loading team. Construction sand on the other hand is sold at Ksh. 400 per truck. The problem is that some of the sand harvesting companies purchased land for mining of sand in the 1980s. They purchased the land at a price of Ksh.2, 000 to Ksh. 2,500 per acre. These companies have not started harvesting sand from their own land. Currently, they are buying sand from the locals in Msambweni Sub County. This is an indicator of highest level of exploitation which should be brought to an immediate end. The cost of land has not changed much because as late as 2010, land was being sold at Ksh. 8,000 per acre.

Lastly we met with representatives of Base Titanium Limited and had some fruitful discussions.