Mining Impacts on Society: A Case Study of Taita Taveta County, Kenya

Irene W. Mwakesi, Raphael G. Wahome, Daniel W. Ichang’i

Taita-Taveta County is rich with a wide variety of minerals in the world. Gemstones like Ruby, Tsavorite, Ruby and green garnets have caused many people to migrate to the area. These people came from within the county and from other parts of the country, greatly impacting the lifestyle of the local community. There was a need to understand how mining impacts on society and cultural values of a community. This study was carried out in 9 villages which included; Eastleigh A and B, Central, Ndigai, Mungololini, Mukengereni B and C, Mkuki and Kambanga. Respondents from 173 households from the villages were interviewed and discussions from 8 key informants who included: a Manager of Classic Mines, an official of Chawia Mining Community Based Organization (CBO), an individual manual artisanal miner, a retired senior Warden of Kenya Wild Life Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service Manager (KFS), a gemologist from the Taita Taveta County government, Chief of Mwatate location and the County Director of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). On a scale of 1 - 4 (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree and 4 = Strongly agree), the respondents agreed that there was a loss of their ancestral land, conflicts, dilution of Taita culture through mixed intermarriages, increased prostitution, alcoholism and high school dropouts. The study recommends review of the legal and policy framework governing mining in community areas and subsequent vigorous enforcement to maintain the good order of the public and to sustain meaningful traditions and culture to ensure conflict resolution and mining site ownership.