TZ min­ing firm faces safety, per­mit queries

Com­mit­tee wants Ajabu East Africa to ex­plain min­ing op­er­a­tion with­out ap­proval

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Western - HIL­TON OTENYO @hiltonotenyo

The Kakamega county assem­bly next week will sum­mon direc­tors of a Tan­za­nian gold min­ing com­pany to an­swer ques­tions about safety at Roster­man mines.

Gold ex­trac­tion uses toxic sodium cyanide.

En­vi­ron­ment and Wa­ter Com­mit­tee chair­man Alex Khamasi yes­ter­day said his team also wants Ajabu East Africa to ex­plain why it is en­gaged in min­ing with­out ap­proval.

“We re­alised it did not carry out an En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment be­fore com­menc­ing work, yet they plan to use sodium cyanide to ex­tract the min­eral from gold dust at Roster­man,” he said.

Khamasi ad­dressed the press in Kakamega town, along with Mahi­akalo MCA Cleophas Malala.

Gold dust was left in the area by Roster­man Min­ing, a colo­nial com­pany op­er­at­ing in the 1950s.

Khamasi said the com­mit­tee wants to es­tab­lish why the com­pany is op- er­at­ing with­out a per­mit un­der the county fi­nance bill 2016-17.

It will also ques­tion gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials from the en­vi­ron­ment, wa­ter and min­ing depart­ments. Records in­di­cate the firm paid Sh300,500 to the Trea­sury, doc­u­mented in a cer­tifi­cate of trans­port.

The com­pany is to ex­ca­vate gold dust from a plot and move it to a nearby plant it is putting up. The soil will be sieved us­ing sodium cyanide.

Khamasi said own­ers of the land in ques­tion, Kakamega mu­nic­i­pal hous­ing so­ci­ety, was un­aware of the com­pany’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

But En­vi­ron­ment ex­ec­u­tive Robert Sumbi said the land be­longs to the county and any­one who may have sold it was “conned”.

“We have al­ways wanted to clear the plot for a dump­site and when the com­pany showed up and said it was ready to re­move the soil, we saw an op­por­tu­nity and al­lowed it to do so,” he said.

Sumbi said the com­pany is re­quired to put in place all safety mea­sures be­fore car­ry­ing out its ac­tiv­i­ties to en­sure safety of the en­vi­ron­ment and the peo­ple in the neigh­bour­hood.

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