25-YEAR DEAL

Manganese mining in Taita Taveta to start in six months

It is estimated that there are at least 40 billion tonnes of the mineral in Mbabarenyi and Mariwenyi villages.

In Summary

• Stephenson said extraction of minerals is set to commence in six months.

• Extraction will spur growth in Voi town with hundreds of people getting jobs.

Universal Resources International Company CEO Mark Stephenson points at a heap of unprocessed manganese in Mbabarenyi
Universal Resources International Company CEO Mark Stephenson points at a heap of unprocessed manganese in Mbabarenyi
Image: SOLOMON MUINGI

The mining of manganese in Taita Taveta by an Australian company will start in six months.

Universal Resources International Company has marked a 1.8 square kilometre area in Mbabarenyi and Mariwenyi villages, Mwatate subcounty, to extract the mineral in a 25-year mining licence deal. 

CEO Mark Stephenson told the Star that extraction of minerals is set to commence next year.

“The extraction process should have started a year ago, but we stopped operations in the wake of Covid-19,” he said.

It is estimated that there are at least 40 billion tonnes of the manganese mineral in Mbabarenyi and Mariwenyi villages.

Stephenson said the quantity of manganese deposits found can be extracted between 50 and 100 years, while exporting over 100,000 tonnes of pure manganese every year.

The deposits are set to benefit hundreds of residents of the arid area through employment and earnings from the land in which mining will take place.

More than 36 families whose land was acquired to pave the way for the extraction agreed with the investor that the company shall remit one per cent of its net earnings directly to each landowner's account.

Another one per cent shall be ploughed back to the community through corporate social responsibility.

Universal Resources International Company CEO Mark Stephenson at a nearly complete manganese processing plant at Mbabarenyi. He targets to recruit hundreds of skilled and unskilled labor from the community
EMPLOYMENT: Universal Resources International Company CEO Mark Stephenson at a nearly complete manganese processing plant at Mbabarenyi. He targets to recruit hundreds of skilled and unskilled labor from the community
Image: SOLOMON MUINGI

The company is eyeing India, Germany, China and the US markets

Company director Stephen Kimanyi said mining in the area will help uplift the lives of the community by alleviating poverty through training and equipping youth and women into profit-making ventures.

Halima Mwake, a resident, said plans to mine in the area has rekindled hope for the community, pointing out that the investor has supplied clean water to the community.

“The establishment of a youth centre has had a great impact. Better times are expected once the unemployed youths are absorbed in the company,” Mwake said.

Edited by A.N