A Study On Artisanal And Small-Scale Gemstones Mining In Taita Taveta County, Kenya

ABSTRACT This study reports on artisanal and small-scale gemstones mining (ASGM) in the Taita Taveta County in Kenya using a variety of methods including review of literature, key informant interviews, administration of questionnaires to miners and local communities, direct observations in the gemstones mining areas, and collection and analysis of gemstones-bearing rocks for their mineral and element compositions. Literature sources used include legal and institutional documents, geological reports, journals and the internet. Fifteen (15) key informant interviews were done comprising ten (10) mine owners, four (4) government institutions at the County level and one (1) representative of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) concerned with protection of human rights. Two hundred and eight (208) questionnaires were also administered, 103 to miners and 105 to local community members. Direct observations were made at ten (10) artisanal gemstone mining sites regarding the nature of the mining activity. Out of ten (10) mine sites studied, only four (4) gave permission for four (4) rock samples to be collected, i.e. one sample per mine site. The rock samples were analysed for their mineral and element compositions. Demographic data from responses to questionnaires administered indicate that majority of miners (68.4%) are natives who hail from within the Taita Taveta County and are between 25 and 38 years (51.6%). In addition, 57.9% of miners have had primary education and 72.6% have at least five (5) years’ experience in gemstones mining. Majority of the miners (94.6%) and the community members (94.1%) were not aware of the existing framework governing gemstone mining activities. iii Information gathered from direct observations at mine sites indicates that majority of the miners do not observe the occupational health and safety practices such as use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Observed environmental effects arising from the mining activity include vegetation loss, un-reclaimed mining pits and waste materials dumped on the landscape. Key informant interviews and responses from questionnaires suggest prevalence of social vices (prostitution and substance abuse) and human rights violations arising from the mining activity. Observations under the microscope indicate that the gemstones-bearing rocks are mainly composed of the minerals quartz, plagioclase, hornblende, muscovite and minor sulphides. Variations in major element contents (wt. %) in four (4) analysed samples of the gemstones-bearing rocks are as follows; SiO2 (19.88-66.05), TiO2 (0.11-0.74), Al2O3 (2.17-10.83), Fe2O3 (1.61-5.89), MgO (0-9.66), CaO (2.34-35.42), K2O (0.19), MnO (0.03-0.12), P2O5 (0-0.38) and SO3 (0.5-3.86). Trace elements such as Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Pb, Cr, V, U, Sr, Y, Zr, Mo and Nb are low to negligible, suggesting minimal chemical pollution of the surrounding environment from the materials or rocks mined. Even though the gemstones mining activity provides employment and income to the local communities and the national government, degradation of the bio-physical environment in the form of un-reclaimed pits and indiscriminate dumping of mine waste, together with lack of monitoring and enforcement of mining and environmental regulations, need urgent attention. It is suggested that education to miners and community members on the existing policies, laws and regulations governing the mining sector in general and gemstones mining in particular, including education on their legal rights and obligations, would be beneficial in the long-term to miners, communities and the national government.

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ZOLLO, N (2021). A Study On Artisanal And Small-Scale Gemstones Mining In Taita Taveta County, Kenya. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/a-study-on-artisanal-and-small-scale-gemstones-mining-in-taita-taveta-county-kenya

MLA 8th

ZOLLO, NJUMWA "A Study On Artisanal And Small-Scale Gemstones Mining In Taita Taveta County, Kenya" Afribary. Afribary, 09 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/a-study-on-artisanal-and-small-scale-gemstones-mining-in-taita-taveta-county-kenya. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.


ZOLLO, NJUMWA . "A Study On Artisanal And Small-Scale Gemstones Mining In Taita Taveta County, Kenya". Afribary, Afribary, 09 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 Jul. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/a-study-on-artisanal-and-small-scale-gemstones-mining-in-taita-taveta-county-kenya >.


ZOLLO, NJUMWA . "A Study On Artisanal And Small-Scale Gemstones Mining In Taita Taveta County, Kenya" Afribary (2021). Accessed July 13, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/a-study-on-artisanal-and-small-scale-gemstones-mining-in-taita-taveta-county-kenya