• They said unpaid dues have contributed to loss of revenues in the form of royalties, thus reducing services.
• Mabishi said large-scale miners have continued accessing new mining areas without the consent of residents.
Taita Taveta MCAs now want the Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs CS Salim Mvurya to suspend all mining until miners are paid their royalties.
In a motion by the Wundanyi MCA Jimmy Mwamidi, the ward reps said there is little information on minerals being extracted in the area, despite extensive mining.
The region is rich in minerals ranging from precious stones to industrial minerals.
The lackof such information, Mwamidi said, has denied residents mineral royalties since the government has failed in tracking and demanding royalties from miners.
“Lack of sufficient mining data has denied our county the right to benefit from the minerals available here. All activities should be halted until such strategies are put in place,” he said on Thursday.
He said unpaid dues has contributed to loss of revenues in the form of royalties, thus negatively affecting services and causing residents to languish in abject poverty.
“All these minerals benefit just a clique of prospecting individuals, leaving the indigenous people to languish in poverty,” he said.
The county government has never been involved in granting prospecting and mining rights under the Mining Act of 2016.
The push comes just weeks after Mvurya halted issuing new mining consents and permits in the area, owing to confusion over who is mandated to issue the permits.
The CS said officials from the mining department have been approving permits for artisanal miners without concurrence of the county government.
“No further issuance of permits without the approval of the county government. A working artisanal miners' committee must also be set up to address these issues,” Mvurya ordered while meeting local leaders last month.
Chawia MCA Joseph Mabishi observed that large-scale miners have continued accessing new mining areas without the consent of locals.
“Prospecting rights are not time-bound and as such prospective miners have continued mincing millions in the guise of prospecting, thus denying the country and the county revenue in royalties,” Mabishi said.
He also asked the government to draft policies that would enable the region endowed with tons of precious stones to liberate itself from poverty.
Some of the gemstones in the region include Tsavorite, ruby, chrome tourmaline, yellow tourmaline, red garnets, green garnets and Tanzanite. Others are manganese, iron ore, marble and limestone.
Large-scale miners, he said, leave behind degradation of the environment, yet they do not undertake any corporate social responsibility for the community.
The MCAs said that the extractive industry has a potential of transforming the region’s economy if all royalties owed adequately trickle down to benefit the locals.
According to the Mining Act 2016, revenue from minerals is supposed to be shared between the national government, the county government and community living in the mining areas, with each getting 70, 20 and 10 per cent, respectively.