THE Deputy Minister for Minerals, Mr Stanslaus Nyongo has said that the government will revoke all mining licences issued to investors whose transactions and activities have caused unending misunderstanding with neighbouring communities.
The deputy minister has also reminded mining interests in Mara region to ensure safety and security by working closely with law enforcement agencies to curb illegal mining as well as environmental degradation and other activities that undermine the security of the surrounding areas.
Mr Nyongo made his remarks at a meeting attended by over 100 mainly small-scale miners from the two districts of Bunda and Butiama and local leaders during his official twoday working tour of activities under his ministerial brief within the region.
He told the miners that mineral were a national resource that contributed greatly to national development, and that stakeholders within the mining sector should respect rules and laws that govern it, as well as ensure that any illegal activities of those likely to bring about insecurity were reported in time.
“… we’ve rules and guidelines that regulate whoever wants to join the mining industry in order to maintain safety of the people and also to ensure maximum benefit from the activity … so you should adhere to those standards,” Nyongo said.
The deputy minister who is also Maswa East lawmaker said miners should fight against illegal mining and other activities that degrade the environment, further asking them to enhance good working relations with the surrounding communities, adding the mineral potential should not bring about conflict with the host villagers.
The deputy minister noted that running land disputes within sites, specifically over compensation for land taken away from villagers could prove disastrous, but added such conflicts could be prevented if the miners secured their concessions, and then worked with local leaders to resolve possible misunderstandings.
He directed the zonal minerals office to quickly take charge and solve all grievances between investors and local authorities that he described as ‘long overdue.’ “Some mining companies take the safety and wellbeing of the neighbouring communities for granted … while others even conduct their activities illegally … at the expense of environmental protection, “Such activities should immediately cease … or we will be forced to revoke any such a licence … without hesitation,” he warned.
Mr John Bina, president of the association of small-scale miners, had earlier revealed that there had been an “accumulation of disputes lying unsolved” at the zonal office as a result of manipulation of the process to issue licences.
He said some of them were a result of licences issued on land that was not clearly surveyed and subsequently as ‘fit for mining operations’ in the “opinion of the relevant local authorities concerned.”