Nema denies shady deal over Kwale mining licence
THE National Environment Management Authority has denied claims that it is keen to see a mining company established in Kwale without a proper environmental impact assessment report. This follows complains by stakeholders in the county who have accused Nema of being compromised to give a license to Cortec Mining.
Speaking to the Star, Nema's compliance and enforcement director Benjamin Lang'wen said the authority will ensure recommendations from the recent public hearing at Mrima Youth Polytechnic are adhered to before issuing a license. “We can never take anything to chance. We have to ensure the due process is followed for a sustainable environment management,” Langwen said.
He said it is the responsibility of the authority to protect the environment and balance between development and conservation through environmental impact assessment. “We are just waiting for the report, which is being compiled, to see if it has all the requirements of both Nema, stakeholders and the community before doing anything. If there are other concerns, we will have them addressed before giving a license,” he said.
Cortec Mining company’s activities have been shrouded in controversy since it began prospecting many years ago. Traces of Niobium including, Zircon and Platinum deposits and other rare minerals have been found in Mrima hill and its surroundings in Kwale county. The South Coast Residents Association expressed fears that the environmental impact will be more than the benefit if a proper assessment is not done.
SCRA chairperson Luciana Perrez said there is a need to ensure that proper assessment is done. Kwale region World Wildlife Fund project manager Elias Kimaru said more information on radiation should be given to the residents. He said Nema should ensure there is alternative water supply since the water bases in the area are shared between the Base Titanium mining company and the Kwale Sugar company. “No license should be issued until all the issues presented by the community, council and residents are addressed,” Kimaru said.