Presented paper

IMWA2019 Students work

Environmental Impacts of Mining: A Study of Mining Communities in Kenya

Chembea, Athman Gunda
Taita Taveta University, Kenya

Abstract; Mineral exploitation contributes significantly to economic growth and development in most world economies. Kenya has a high mining potential and already ranks as the third largest producer of soda ash and the seventh producer of fluorspar in the world. Export statistics indicate a constantly growing sector. With further exploration and uptake of mineral rights, Kenya will have the capacity to position itself as a regional mining sector hub for Eastern Africa. This sets mining as the next economic frontier.The mining sector consists of both artisanal mining and large-scale mining, each of which has varying environmental impacts. This paper provides an exposure on the environmental impacts of mining activities in Kenya and its mitigation measures. The paper mainly focused on the mining activities in Mwatate Sub County in Taita Taveta County. Data was collected from primary and secondary sources. These included, review of relevant literature including policies and legal documents, participant observation, in-depth interviews with mining communities, county government and government officials in the mining sector, use of questionnaires, environmental assessments of various mining sites in the study area. The findings from the study showed that mining activities, resulting from artisanal miners deplete environmental resources such as soil, landscape, among others. The paper concluded that major sources of water in the region have been heavily polluted, by artisanal miners; land surrounding mines has been rendered bare and susceptible to increased erosion and loss of viability for agricultural purposes, animal husbandry, among other uses; increased clearing of vegetation for mining activities has adversely altered the ecosystem; important soil organisms is destroyed eventually depriving the soil of organic matter and low levels of macronutrients and soil fertility necessary for plant growth and crop production. More so animal husbandry is a nightmare in such areas leading to food insecurity. On this basis, the paper recommends that there should be effective community participation in environmental decision making to ensure sustainable mining activities, easing of the registration process for artisanal miners, training of small scale miners enforcement of the mining policies and regulations; establishment of environmental oversight groups in mining communities; and create environmental awareness campaigns and education in mining communities. The finding of this paper will provide additional knowledgeand skills to future researchers more so wil provide mitigation measures on impacts of mining to the environment