Kenya: Uncertainty over resettlement plans & revenue sharing delaying coal production
Author: Boniface Mwaniki, Daily Nation (Kenya), Published on: 11 December 2017
"Coal mining in Kitui yet to start 5 years after deal was signed"
...Among the minerals which...[Kitui] county boasts of is coal, whose discovery in the Mui coal basin several decades ago was a major milestone in positioning the region as one with a big potential in wealth creation in Kenya. However, since the signing of the benefit sharing agreement (BSA) between Kitui leaders and the Chinese firm, Fenxi Industry Mining Company (FIMC), which was contracted to mine coal way back in 2014, very little has happened in Mui five years down the line. There have been many handles standing on the way, hindering the start of mining of the coal...
Political intrigues have also stood on the way for the mining of coal in Kitui. There seemed to be a conflict between the national and county governments on the sharing of wealth from the coal mining. Another issue which has continued to frustrate the mining is the signing of the addendum – a document which was drafted after the signing of the BSA to cater for interests of the local community who were thought to have been left out in the BSA. The document is yet to be signed. At the same time, the local community has been opposed to the project due to uncertainty on where they would be relocated to once the project starts.
Compensation has also been a thorny issue that has delayed the start of the project. Muthui Mung’ola, a farmer at the Mui coal basin, is of the opinion that the project should not be implemented as it will totally interfere with farming which is the only source of income for his family. “Mining of coal in our area is likely to completely ruin our lives. We are very comfortable here and how I wish that this process stalls forever,” said Mung’ola. Ms Mbithe Muthui, also from the area, feels that though those who will be affected by the project will be compensated, the amount of money might not be enough compared to what they get from farming which ton regular basis.