Influencers of Adoption of Mine Water Treatment Technologies in Taita Taveta County, Kenya – A Case of Aquamines Ltd
Mwagandi, Shadrack Mwakio
Taita Taveta University, Kenya
Encountering water while mining could be blessing in disguise; the mine water may be treated for use in the production process, human consumption and agriculture amongst others. However, harnessing these benefits requires the adoption of appropriate technologies. Since 1974, Aquamines Limited, which mines Ruby and Tourmaline gemstones, has pumped out the water that it met underground and let it go. This study sought to find out the factors that have prevented this company from adopting mine water treatment technologies. The output of this paper is important because it has brought to the fore the drivers of adoption of the technologies in Taita Taveta County, and by extension remote areas in Africa. The information shared will be invaluable to the crafting of strategies that will see mine water being put into better use.
The approach of this paper is unique in the sense that it makes its contribution to the theme from a social sciences perspective. It used a personal interview to establish the influencers of adoption of mine water treatment technologies. The questions asked focused on the role of human capital, adoption history, geographic interactions, financial capital and, institutions and policies on the embracement of these technologies.
The study found out that mine water is the main challenge to the mining activities of this company and that it is removed using petrol-driven generators to allow for digging to go on. This is considered a costly exercise in addition to the fact that the water is not utilized in any way save for consumption by wild animals and trees. The mining company does not have records to show the chemical composition of the water. Minewater treatment technologies have not been adopted at all and the interviewee is not aware that such technologies exist. No effort has been put into seeking information because of the fear of not being able to afford the technologies.
If a solution to this mine water problem is not found, the government will continue to lose would-be revenues, mining duration is unduly long and lots of man-hours are lost removing mine water. This study recommends the creation of awareness of the need to conduct water baseline surveys and acting on the results. Awareness is also required in the areas of the value of mine water and available mine water treatment technologies.