How much and what form of compensation should mining companies give to the local community and who should decide how that money should be spent so as to uplift the welfare of residents where a mine is located?
This is one of the main issues that stakeholders in the mining sector are grappling with at the moment.
Take for instance, Karebe Gold Mining that mines the precious stones in Chemase, Nandi Hills. The area’s Senator, Samson Cherargey, says that the company has given the community a raw deal in the last nine years it have has in operation.
Karebe has leased nine acres of Mzee Cheseret Korir’s and they have paid him more than Sh9 million for the mountainous piece of land, where only two acres is cultivable land. The company says they are willing to give the landowner a new improved package but the old man is unwilling to negotiate.
“The second landowner receives about Sh2 million a year for seven acres of land while another one receives about Sh1.3million for seven acres of land annually. Remember all these pieces of land where we do mining are rocky and hilly without any meaningful potential for agriculture,” Karebe Managing Director David May said.
The recently legislated Mining Regulations has established a Community Development Agreement (CDA) model, where before mining commences, the local community must formally enter into a contract with mining company and agree in written which development activities should be carried out by the investor.
“They (local community) may feel it’s not enough but look at the balance of it in terms of direct and induced jobs and general welfare including the infrastructure developed, where mining operations have been established, those areas are much better than they were before the mining was established,” Mining Principal Secretary, Dr Ibrahim Mohamed told People Daily.
Well that may be so but still the perception of the people, and especially their elected leaders think the companies are not doing enough to compensate them from the riches they milk from their land. Besides paying for the land, Karebe has employed more than 283 locals and 13 expatriates in different departments including those who work in the mines.
“Our biggest impact maybe is in giving the local and others from across the country jobs that have changed their lives and that of their families,” said Kerebe Gold Mining Chairman Charlie Tryon.
Some members of the local community are overtly appreciative of the Corporate Social Responsibilities programmes the company has implemented.
“We are calling on the senator and other local leaders to leave the company alone and if there are issues, instead of complaining in Nairobi, let them hold a baraza and bring the issues so that they can be addressed locally,” Dickens Keroney, a local elder.