Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki Today Orders Closure of Mining Sites Across Kenya

Early on Monday morning, Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki took decisive action by ordering the closure of numerous small, illegal artisanal mining sites scattered across Kenya. The announcement came from Migori County, where the Cabinet Secretary also mandated the immediate shutdown of all unlicensed commercial mining operations.

Highlighting the dangers posed by these unregulated sites, CS Kindiki underscored that they not only lacked proper registration but also endangered the lives of Kenyans. Tragically, recent incidents, including the deaths of two individuals at an illegal mining site in Nyatike, Migori County, within the last week, emphasized the urgent need for action. Additionally, four others had lost their lives two months prior at a mining site in the Sango area of Migori County.

In a bid to ensure safe and environmentally compliant artisanal mining practices, the government imposed a ban on all artisanal mining activities and unlicensed commercial mining operations. The directive was clear: the Migori County Security and Intelligence Committee (CSIC) was tasked with the immediate enforcement of this ban.

This move follows Mining CS Salim Mvurya’s recent ban order issued on Friday, March 22, citing violations of the law by both local and international investors. Speaking at the launch of Artisanal Miners Cooperatives in Athi River National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Mvurya affirmed that the ban would remain in place until the sector underwent necessary reforms.

Under the regulatory framework, licenses for small-scale miners are issued by County Mining Committees, while large-scale exploration activities require approval from the Ministry of Mining. Notably, regions such as Western and Nyanza witness extensive small-scale mining due to significant gold deposits. Similarly, Taita Taveta County in the Coastal Region boasts substantial gemstone reserves, contributing significantly to the local economy.

Mining CS Mvurya highlighted the vast mineral wealth across Kenya, with approximately 960 mineral deposits identified nationwide. This sector plays a pivotal role in the country’s economy, providing employment opportunities to over one million Kenyans.