Hakijamii organized a training for residents of Kwale County who have been affected by various mining activities. The areas targeted included Mafisini, Vidungeni, Vumbu and Nguluku communities. These communities are at different stages in terms of engagement with the mining sector. In Mafisini, the main area of discussion was the resettlement process. It was however evident that Base Titanium Company has taken strides in organizing community meetings as well as establishing various committees to fast track the process. In Vidungeni community, the training established absence in cohesion between the land owners and the youth engaged in mining the sand. Vumbu communities are still grappling with tapping the benefits which have been accrued from the mining sector. In Nguluku, the discussions zeroed in on community organizing through identification of problems. This was to assist in building a cohesive community that would then engage with the mining company proactively.
We also visited Vidungeni to meet with artisinal miners who mine silica sand which they sell to manufacturers who process the same to make glass, tiles, mirrors, soap and utensils. Mining in the area has beenongoing since 1968. The objective of the meeting was to sensitize the the artisinal miners on the Mining Act so that they become aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
The Mining Act 2016
The Act defines artisanal mining as traditional and customary mining operations using traditional or customary ways and means. A person shall not engage in artisanal mining operations unless the person has been granted an artisanal mining permit under this Act. Application for an artisanal mining permit is made to the representative of the Director of Mines in the area of operation in the prescribed form and the same is accepted or rejected within 60 days. The permit granted by the representative of the Director of Mines shall be for the specified mineral in the application and shall be subject to conditions specified in the permit. The permit granted shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of issue and shall be renewable upon application for one more term and then may apply to convert it to a small scale permit. The permit may be revoked if the holder contravenes the terms and conditions of the permit or is convicted of any offence relating to smuggling or illegal sale or dealing in minerals.