As part of its ‘Vision 2030’ development program, the Kenyan government is keen on the exploration of coal in Kitui County. A coal mining concession awarded to a Chinese company is threatening the livelihoods of farmers and pastoralists in the Kitui County. Women especially are affected. The community speaks out to claim their rights to water, food and a clean environment.
In 2005, a 500-square – kilometer area stretching through Kitui and Mutomo was discovered to contain one of the richest coal reserves in the world. The Mui Coal Basin project is currently divided into blocks titledA, B, C and D, with the last two believed to have more than 400 millionmetric tonnes of coal reserves. According to Ministry of Energy estimates,Block C has an estimated 400,000 million metric tonnes of coal that canbe exploited for nearly 50 years. These deposits have an estimated valueof Sh3.4 trillion at current market rates, while the value of the reserves inBlock A, B and D is yet to be determined.