Kenya to work out compensation over fluorspar

Friday July 14 2017

A Kenya Fluorspar Company employee samples some

A Kenya Fluorspar Company employee samples some fluorspar ore in 2011 when the company was still in full operation. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

By KENNEDY SENELWA
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Kenya has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to identify, within three weeks, modalities of compensating landowners affected by mining of fluorspar in Kerio Valley in the North Rift.

The committee needs to identify owners of land used in Elgeyo Marakwet County by Kenya Fluorspar Company (KFC) at Kimwarer near Eldoret town to be compensated by government.

The inter-ministerial committee is addressing historical injustices, access to public roads, pollution, police harassment, destruction of property, labour practices and destruction of cultural burial sites linked to fluorspar mining.

The Mining Ministry said the committee will collate data on owners of the area allocated to KFC and recommend a valuation system to be used to compensate people affected by the fluorspar extraction project.

About 9,000 hectares of land allocated over 40 years ago for mining and processing is being re-surveyed for purposes of valuation to enable the committee recommend money and those to qualify for payment.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, while on the election campaign trail at Chepkorio said his government had set aside $100 million to compensate landowners.

Residents are demanding $100,000 per acre that would mean a disbursement package of at least $900 million.

The Committee comprising officials of Attorney-General’s office, ministries of Land, Environment, Mining and the Elgeyo Marakwet County government will prepare report on issues affecting the Kimwarer Sugutek community.

Fluorspar ore deposits in Kerio Valley were first discovered in 1967 but landowners were not compensated properly leading to complaints from locals.

“Compensation of affected land owners was not done fully. The land valuation was improperly conducted as some people were paid as little as $5 over 20 years. This government wants to correct the injustice,” said Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu.

The state-owned Fluorspar Company of Kenya (FCK) was established in 1971 to exploit the mineral and four years later government gazetted its intention to buy the land from the owners. The exercise was completed in 1986.

Technical, financial and market-related problems led to FCK going into receivership in 1979. Thereafter, KFC, a wholly government-owned entity bought the assets and continued operations until it was privatised in 1996.

Mr Kazungu said the inter-ministerial committee will forward to him a report by July this to facilitate preparation of a memo to the his Cabinet colleagues for discussion.

Kenya Fluorspar Company’s 20-year special mining lease for 3,664 hectares of land signed with the Kenyan government and is due for renewal April 2018 and local residents want the firm to resume operations.