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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mui coal mining project just a mirage, says MCA

Residents of Blocks C and D in the Mui coal basin inspect coal found in local wells on November 27, 2014 /FILE
Residents of Blocks C and D in the Mui coal basin inspect coal found in local wells on November 27, 2014 /FILE

It’s been four years yet the much-touted Kitui coal mining project is yet to take off, Mui MCA Musee Mulongo yesterday said.

He said the project has become a mirage, four years since a benefit-sharing agreement was signed.

Mulongo spoke to journalists on a tour of the coal belt as he traversed the ward to campaign for reelection.

He said the national government has economically disenfranchised residents by making them abandon gainful economic activities on their land.

“Since they were told they would be relocated, they have stopped any productive economic activities on their land. That has continued for years as they expected to be relocated any time, a situation that had left them poorer,” Mulongo said.

The benefit-sharing agreement to allow the mining of coal in Blocks C and D was signed between the then Energy minister Davies Chirchir and a top official of the concessionaire, Fenxi Mining Industry Company, at Mwingi Stadium in December 2013.

air pollution

“We cast doubts on this project because there no are signs that it will start anytime soon,” Mulongo said.

“We were promised that water would be piped from Tana River in big pipes and we will see improved road infrastructure, including being linked to the SGR. We have seen nothing.”

Fenxi was given the Sh3.4 trillion mining concession five years ago.

Mulongo said, “As far as I am concerned, no one knows what is happening with the coal project.”

He was the chairman of the Environment, Energy and Minerals Committee. Mulongo said the government should come clean whether it has abandoned the coal mining project so residents could go back to their normal lives.

He said Mui residents will be relieved if the government decides to abandon the project in favour of clean energy.

“We are very cautious about this coal as we know it is an air pollutant. Almost the entire world is embracing clean energy and the members of the Mui community aged 40 and above do not like this project,” Mulongo said.

He said only 20 per cent of the youth population in Mui welcomes the project because they think it will bring wealth through job creation.


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