The government has expressed interest to revive Fluorspar Mining in Kimwarer, Kerio Valley where an investor halted activities four years ago.
Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya announced on Wednesday that the government will float expression of interest in the dailies next week, inviting potential investors.
Speaking at Kimwarer-Sugutek where he addressed a public baraza hosted by Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich , Mvurya said a new investor may begin operations by June this year.
“The host community is primary in working with the investor and therefore the community should be receptive,” said the CS.
The community claim the defunct Fluorspar Mining Company owed the locals massive compensation which must be made before a new investor takes over.
Mr. Mvurya said his visit to Kimwarer was meant to assess the site alongside having first hand information with the community.
He said:” The new investor will be obligated to operate within the Mining guidelines. The issue of compensation has to be disposed in a structured manner”
The mining Act 2016, has stipulated guidelines on payment of royalties to the national Treasury, the host community and the regional government, said the Minister who was flanked by his Mining Principal Secretary and a host of technical officials drawn from his ministry.
The CS however applauded the Kimwarer Sugutek community for zealously preserving equipment that belonged to the collapsed Fluorspar Mining Company Limited.
Governor Rotich said the revival of Fluorspar Mining was a political hot potato because of the compensation aspect.
The Governor said:”I sat with President H.E. William Ruto discussing about Fluorspar revival and I want to ask you to trust us as your leaders because no politician can play with the electorate on such a pertinent matter,”
Hon. Gideon Kimaiyo Sonko, MP Keiyo South in whose constituency Fluorspar Mining is located said the mood of the community and body language suggested that compensation was so weighty more than the mining revival.
“I am aware of what is going on in Nairobi. There are at least 17 potential investors eyeing to take over from the defunct Fluorspar Mining Company but I want to tell you that no investor can come here when there are compensation undertones,”said the legislator.
Kimaiyo urged the community to consider compromising their hard stand on compensation if they expected the factory to be resuscitated.
Micah Kigen, a local politician said he is hopeful that the new investor would not come to perpetuate violations similar to historical injustices committed by the defunct Fluorspar Mining Company.
“I was young and energetic when we fought hard against Fluorspar company injustices. I am now too old for activism. I therefore hope the new investor will be magnanimous,”said Kigen.
Responding to community demands, Mvurya said compensation ought to be addressed in concurrence with revival plans.
Present included a host by Members of the County Assembly MCAs, Deputy Governor Prof. Grace Cheserek, County Secretary Paul Chemmuttut, County Commissioner John Korir among other officials