Kenya Floats Proposal to Allow Miners Explore National Parks and Protected Areas

A collage of Tsavo National Park and a mining excavator.
Tsavo National Park

The Kenyan government is formulating a plan to allow miners to operate inside national parks and other protected areas across the country. 

Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime revealed this on Monday, March 25, during a meeting with Cabinet Secretaries Alfred Mutua (Tourism) and Salim Mvurya (Mining). 

The revelation was made a few hours after Interior CS Kithure Kindiki announced that all illegal mining sites should be shut down with immediate effect. 

Mwadime welcomed the move by the national government with Taita Taveta being one of the most mineral-rich counties in Kenya.

From Left: Tourism CS Alfred Mutua, Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime and Mining CS Salim Mvurya
Andrew Mwadime

“Hosting Alfred Mutua and CS Salim Mvurya ahead of county mining stakeholder's meeting on modalities to grant artisanal miners access into the national parks and other protected areas to start exploration & exploitation of minerals,” Mwadime announced. 

Once the modalities are agreed upon, Mwadime will be able to allow artisanal miners access to Tsavo West and Tsavo East national parks. 

This is after an earlier agreement to have County Mining Committees be responsible for handing out licences for small-scale miners. 

Some of the minerals believed to be in Tsavo National Parks include sapphire, emerald and garnets including tsavorites. 

Other places apart from Taita Taveta where artisanal mining is predominantly practised include; Kakamega, Vihiga, Siaya and Migori counties. 

The Ministry of Mining estimates that over 1 million Kenyans depend on mining as their main economic activity. 

Additionally, the ministry reckons that there are over 960 different types of mineral deposits across the country which are under-exploited. 

The new move by the government to allow exploration in national parks will ensure Kenya maximises fully the economic potential of those mineral deposits. 

Photo of someone holding a tsavorite gemstone.
Photo of someone holding a tsavorite gemstone.
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