Mining ministry plans support for artisanal gold miners


The Ministry of Mining has dispelled claims it has shut down gold mining activities in Migori.

The ministry however says there is need to empower gold miners with technical capacity and machinery to make the mining activities in the area more efficient.

Mining principal secretary John Omenge said the continued use of mercury in gold mining poses serious dangers with the need to get a less harmful alternative.

“Any dangerous workings should be avoided. As national government we are working to get support to be given to artisanal miners throughout our country in the form of equipment. We are also working towards putting in place alternative ways of extracting the gold other than mercury,” Mr Omenge.

The mining act outlaws the use of mercury in mining but the close to 250,000 small-scale gold miners are unaware of the risks or too poor to care.

The PS was speaking when he visited Copper Hill gold mine in Nyatike Sub County, added that the government recognizes that there are many people earning a living from artisanal mining hence the need to increase funding support.

Mr Omenge said the government would also invest in grouping licensed miners to get the most output from the sector.

“We are not coming to close but rather improve and this is what we will continue to do so that we are working in line with the provisions of the new mining act,” he said.

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