- Salaa has so far constructed four shafts in Rosterman, where youths work in three or four shifts a day
- Mining and Blue Economy Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya decriminalised artisanal mining
An investor has launched an initiative to make shaft mining safer in Kakamega county.
Oketch Salaa of Stones of Life Investments is giving artisanal miners equipment and resources to improve their trade.
Shaft mining is the most common method of mining in Kakamega but has been linked to many deaths.
Under the arrangement, Salaa meets the cost of equipment and construction then takes 75 per cent of the proceeds and leaves the miners with 25 per cent.
The tailings from the mines are given to women for free to extract remnant minerals.
The women do not go down the shafts like their male counterparts.
Salaa has so far constructed four shafts in Rosterman, where youths work in three or four shifts per day.
One of the shafts is for miners aged 60 and above and the proceeds are shared on a 50-50 basis.
“The president has said he wants youths to get jobs and that is what we are doing here. We have employed more than 1, 000 youths," he said.
"We are going to open Kenya's largest gold mining factory in the next six months.”
The investor is also involved in Corporate Social Responsibility activities in the area.
On Saturday he handed over classrooms and a staffroom at Mwiba Primary School in Likuyani.
He helped to renovate the facilities at a cost of Sh3 million.
The Mining Act 2016, provides for sharing of royalties from gold mining on a 70, 20 and 10 per cent basis among the national government, county government and communities.
National vice chairman of the Artisanal and Small-scale Miners Association of Kenya Patrick Ligami said the provision helps everyone, including, miners and the community to benefit from the minerals.
“Most of the deaths occur in mines because of lack of resources for requisite equipment and construction of proper shafts and this is what the investor is helping us deal with,” he said.
Ligami said Salaa has also empowered women groups by buying them tents and chairs for hire and also established for them poultry farms.
“This is a break from the past, when communities in areas where mining is going on remained poor,” he said.
Ligami said the investor is planning to establish a mental health hospital at Rosterman on request by the county government of Kakamega.
“We commend Governor Fernandes Barasa for the support he has given by providing working space for the investor to create the much needed jobs in line with his six-point agenda to transform Kakamega county,” he said.
Ligami commended Kakamega Government for the high level engagement with the investor and miners.
Mining and Blue Economy Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya decriminalised artisanal mining and directed artisans to form marketing cooperatives for consideration of the issuance of permits
Ligami said many households directly or indirectly depend on artisanal activities and the investment is in line with Kenya Kwanza's Bottom-up economic agenda.
He said more than over 60 per cent of families in Ikolomani, Shinyalu and Lurambi subcounties depend on mining as their main income generating activity.
There are more than 15, 000 small-scale and artisanal miners in Kakamega county alone.
Ikolomani subcounty has 250 shafts of the total 300 in the county.