NEMA Shuts Down Mine, Leaving Hundreds of Nakuru Residents Jobless

Kenyans Seeking Jobs
Kenyans seeking employment in Nairobi In a past event

Residents from Bahati Nakuru County are up in arms over the government's plan to close a mining site in the area.

The residents who spoke to the press on Thursday revealed that the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) had closed down a site that had directly employed 200 residents.

Additionally, it had employed hundreds of others indirectly who are now left jobless. The locals argued that this loss of jobs would lead to increased crime in the area.

"Why has this site been closed while others in various areas are still operational? We rely on the mine for our daily meals. Do you want us to steal?" one of the former employees lamented.

An ongoing mining operation at a site.
Ministry of Mining

Others affected by the abrupt closure of the site are traders and food joint owners whose main customers were workers at the site. Some of the shops had been closed as the owners appealed to the government.

The residents raised concerns about the mass loss of jobs leaving most of them grappling with the tough economic times without an income.

Locals added that it's been a month since the mining site was closed. The drivers who used to ferry the products complained that it had been a tough month and urged the government to step in.

They emphasised that the site was opened in 1934 and has never been closed for business.

To end the situation, the locals, employees and traders have asked the government to put in place measures to reopen the site and ensure safety rather than closing it entirely.

Meanwhile, in the letter from NEMA dated May 7, it was revealed that the site was closed due to increased complaints relating to serious environmental and public health risks.

NEMA further noted that the site was unregulated putting the lives of those working there at risk in case of a mudslide, especially with the increased rainfall across the country.

Recently the government has closed down several mining sites across the country after several of them collapsed while others are being run by unauthorised individuals.

In March, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki ordered the closure of all small illegal artisanal mining sites in the country. He also ordered the closure of all unlicensed commercial mining operations.

"To ensure regularised artisanal mining that meets public safety and environmental standards, the government has banned all artisanal mining activities as well as unlicensed commercial mining," he stated.

Interior CS Kithure Kindiki speaking during the First National Border Management Conference on April 2, 2024.
Kithure Kindiki
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