The government has suspended operations of a Chinese company accused of mining gold in Vihiga County without a license.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Mining CS Salim Mvurya said that Kitigu Resources and Mining Company officials were arrested and charged for conducting illegal mining activities at Kichutu area in Izava/Lyadunywa Ward in Vihiga.
Mvurya acknowledged that the company was operating under the radar, denying the government revenue from the mining operations in the area which is believed to have gold deposits.
Mvurya said that his Ministry established that the company does not have a permit after conducting investigations.
The Ministry wrote to Kitigu Resources' management notifying the company of a breach of mining law and issuing an order for them to cease operating in the area.
"Section 10 of the mining Act 2016, prohibits any person from searching for, prospect or mine any mineral deposits or tailings in Kenya unless that person has been granted a permit or license. I confirm that Kitigu Resources and Mining Company have not been issued with a permit or License to mine gold in Vihiga and their operations are illegal," Mvurya said.
The CS added that illegal miners pose as artisanal miners to evade paying taxes.
Mvurya confirmed that plans are underway to formalise the artisanal operations through the issuance of Artisanal Mining permits.
‘’The Ministry has stepped up its surveillance activities and has issued firm instructions to its regional Mining Officers, which instructions they are currently enforcing, to serve closure notices to all illegal mining and dealership operations countrywide,’’ CS added.
The Senators had raised questions regarding the existence of several mining companies in Vihiga and Taita Taveta counties operating illegally.
According to Senator Johnes Mwaruma, only M/S Wanjala Mining Company Limited is licensed to carry out mining within Kishushe Area. The mine is operated by M/S Samruddha Resources Kenya Limited.
‘’In the meantime, this Ministry is assisting all Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in the County and elsewhere in the formation of Marketing Cooperatives in readiness for licensing," he noted.
The Senators also tasked the CS to provide sufficient equipment to the local companies, saying that the artisanal miners lacked the technical skills and machinery to compete with foreign firms.
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