Home » British Mining Firm in Kenya’s Gold-Rich Rift Valley Faces Land Dispute

British Mining Firm in Kenya’s Gold-Rich Rift Valley Faces Land Dispute

by Victor Adetimilehin

A British mining company, Karebe Gold Mining, is embroiled in a land dispute with elderly landowners in Kenya’s Rift Valley region. The company, which has been operating in the area for over a decade, claims to have a valid lease agreement for a small plot of land that is rich in gold. However, some of the landowners allege that the lease was fraudulently obtained and that they have not received any compensation or benefits from the mining activities.

The dispute escalated on Monday, when a blast in an underground mine killed three workers and injured six others. The blast was allegedly caused by a rival group of illegal miners, who had been hired by some of the landowners to sabotage Karebe’s operations. The illegal miners reportedly used explosives to cause a cave-in, trapping the workers inside.

The incident has sparked outrage and condemnation from the local community, the government, and the human rights groups. The leaders from the region accused some powerful individuals in the government of fueling the conflict for their personal interests. They also blamed the lack of transparency and accountability in the mining sector, which has allowed such disputes to persist.

The government has responded by suspending the mining licenses of both Karebe and the illegal miners for 30 days, pending investigations. The Cabinet Secretary for Mining and the Blue Economy, Salim Mvurya, said that the suspension was necessary to ensure the health and safety of the workers and the environment. He also expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The mining sector in Kenya has been undergoing reforms since 2016, when a new Mining Act was enacted. The Act aimed to modernize and expand the sector, which contributes less than 1% of the country’s GDP. However, the sector has faced challenges such as the lack of geodata, the moratorium on new licenses, and the frequent disputes over land and resources.

The case of Karebe highlights the need for more dialogue and cooperation among the stakeholders in the mining sector, including the government, the investors, the communities, and the civil society. It also calls for more respect for the rights and interests of the landowners, who are often marginalized and exploited by the mining companies. The resolution of the dispute could pave the way for a more sustainable and inclusive development of the sector, which has the potential to create jobs, generate revenue, and spur economic growth.

Source: Africa Intelligence

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