TZ mining firm faces safety, permit queries
Committee wants Ajabu East Africa to explain mining operation without approval
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.