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Coal mining to await signing of new benefits

Source: Daily Nation

Exploitation of coal deposits in parts of the Mui Basin in Kitui County will not start until an additional part to the deal is signed and effected.

Blocks C and D liaison committee chairman Eric Mutua told residents that mining of coal will only begin after issues raised in the addendum are enjoined to be part of the Benefits Sharing Agreement (BSA).

At the same time, the county government reiterated its commitment to ensure that people in areas vested with various minerals benefit fully.

Mr Mutua, who is also the Law Society of Kenya chairman, was speaking at Mathuki market in Mwingi East on Friday during a meeting convened by his committee to deliver to the residents an end of year (2014) report on the progress of coal mining in the area.

“If the addendum will not be signed, don’t expect to see any coal,” Mr Mutua said.

The addendum contains issues which the community wants to be addressed but were initially left out in the BSA. The investor, the liaison committee and the government through the Ministry of Energy are supposed to agree on the addendum.

He blamed the Energy ministry for delaying the harmonisation of issues raised by various stakeholders in a bid to come up with the final addendum paper.

According to the LSK boss, some of the contentious items which should be considered include issues of resettlement and compensation.

“ Unless we agree on who should and who should not be resettled, mining will remain a dream. We should also agree on how much we should be compensated for our land,” Mr Mutua said.

Speaking at the same function county director for environment, energy and mineral investment development Benjamin Mukulo said the county government shared the same stand with locals on the mining of coal in the Mui basin and other areas with minerals.