Kilifi County To Receive Sh 950 Million Windfall As Share Of Mining Royalties

The government is set to release Sh 950 million to Kilifi County government as a cumulative share of royalties collected from multi-billion shillings’ investments licensed to operate in the region.

Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya said that the money had already been allocated in the budget after the completion of computation of the amount of sharable to counties from the proceeds of mining operation.

Speaking at Mngamunyi village in Nyari area of Ganze Constituency, the CS said the Mining Act of 2016 had adopted the mining royalty sharing formula with 70 percent of total royalties going for the national government, 20 percent to the county and 10 percent to the communities in the mining areas. An additional one percent of the gross total sales from a mining investment would go to the community for projects under the framework of Community Development Agreement Committees (CDAC).

The CS stated that mining ventures must be beneficial to the communities and their impa
cts should be towards betterment of their lives.

‘Kilifi County is set to receive an additional Sh 950 million as revenue from mining activities. This money can be used to improve facilities and help the county streamline service delivery,’ he said.

Mvurya added that more money was expected to flow in the mining counties as communities within mining areas would also receive their share of royalties.

Based on the value and volumes of minerals exploited by investors, the CS disclosed that the one percent of the total gross sale might translate to hundreds of millions.

He said that Kenya’s mineral endowment was primarily meant to help uplift communities and better the lives of residents where the minerals were located.

The CS added that the reforms in the mining sector were intended to make the mining profitable and beneficial for miners, communities and government at both county and national levels.

‘The minerals must have a positive impact on communities and this is why the sector is being streamlined to
ensure people get tangible benefits,’ he explained.

The Nyari meeting was also attended by Kilifi Governor Gideon Mung’aro, Ganze MP Tungule Charo and Members of County Assembly. The national government officials in the county led by the County Commissioner Josephat Biwott were also present.

Governor Mung’aro said the county would use the revenue from mining royalties to primarily develop social amenities, infrastructure and public facilities for communities in mining areas of Ganze, Mtondia and Kitengeni. He said the money would establish a 50-bed capacity hospital at Kitengeni and expand facilities at Bamba and Kalolenyi.

‘The County will plough back this money to improve facilities and amenities in most of these mining areas where the royalty comes from. From hospitals, to roads and classes, this money will transform our people’s lives,’ he said.

Noting that transformational abilities of mineral investments in triggering development and creating employment for the local residents, the governor said the
county was open to supporting initiatives that will benefit the communities.

However, a section of Nyari communities represented by officials of Nyari Community Based Organisation (CBO) expressed their reservations with the proposed titanium mining project citing obscurity and scant details.

Mr Peter Fondo, the CBO’s secretary, said the community members had several unaddressed concerns over the project. He added that uncertainties over issues of land use, potential disruptive impact and opaqueness in some of the activities touching on the project had made residents wary of the mining investment.

‘We are not being fully involved yet this project is meant to be undertaken where we live. Villagers are not aware of what is going to happen with their land and lives. We need to know so that we can make informed decisions,’ said Fondo.

While acknowledging the communities’ right to be involved in such mega projects, the CS reiterated the role of public participation in avoiding future disruptions of mining opera

He clarified that Nyari community’s apprehension towards the investor arose from misinformation on what the project entailed. He said that the investor would not be engaged in any mining activity contrary to widespread claims.

‘The investor has a prospecting license. They are here to search for minerals, establish the location and if those minerals are commercially viable. There is no displacement or land being taken away’ he explained.

CS Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Salim Mvurya interacts with residents of Nyari area in Ganze constituency in Kilifi County.

To enhance community’s involvement in the project, the CS directed more public participation activities be held and the community be sensitised on what prospecting entailed. Such forums, he said, will bring together the investor, county government, national government administrative officers and other mining stakeholders to address many concerns and avoid potential hostilities between investor and locals.

The investor, Jialin East
Africa Mining Company Limited, had applied for a prospecting license for construction and industrial minerals in Kilifi County in October last year. The prospecting activity covers an area of approximately 79,000 acres. The company was issued with a prospecting license and also got consent from the county government.

Part of the prospecting area falls in Nyari; a densely populated rural zone and home to a dozen villages with an estimated 5,000 residents. Fear over mass displacement and loss of land forced the residents to petition several state agencies asking for the entire process to be made transparent.

Mr Toya Sighe, the chair of Nyari CBO, admits they were spooked by the possibility of being displaced and conned by strangers under the guise of mining. He however said the planned public participation activities are avenues for knowledge and information sharing to make the communities understand the project in detail.

‘We are happy that the government has understood our predicament. Now that we are invo
lved, we will ask all the questions we have and make our decisions from a point of knowledge,’ said the chair.

Source: Kenya News Agency