T. C. Davies, O. Osano, 2005. "Sustainable mineral development: case study from Kenya", Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World, B. R. Marker, M. G. Petterson, F. McEvoy, M. H. Stephenson
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The last two to three decades have witnessed a rapid growth in the mining industry in Kenya. The suite of minerals includes metals such as gold, silver, copper, zinc and titanium, and industrial minerals ranging from talc and gypsum to dolomite and gemstones. Methods of exploitation, processing and beneficiation of these mineral resources can have diverse effects on the country’s socio-economic position, its varied ecosystems and general environment. The Mining Act (Cap 306) of 1940, which has been the principal Act for regulating minerals use and mining, lacks clear provisions on environmental management. This paper discusses mining guidelines set forth in a new regulatory framework known as the Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 2000, and evaluates their effectiveness and applicability by examining the proposed titanium mining project in the Kwale district. Through a major mining project, the Environmental Impact Assessment exposed the difficulties often encountered in implementing regulatory controls in all new mining ventures in Kenya, both large- and small-scale. It is submitted that the challenge of sustainability should be a major concern of the mineral industry to demonstrate not only profitability but also benefits to society and preservation of environmental integrity.
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Sustainable Minerals Operations in the Developing World
The sustainable development of minerals, which are non-renewable resources, is a major challenge in today’s world. In this regard the true definition of sustainability’ is a debating point in itself: can such a concept exist with respect to non-renewable resources? Perhaps the ideal sustainability model is one that minimizes negative environmental impact and maximizes benefits to society, the economy and regional/national development. Developed and near-developed economies rely for commodity supplies on developing countries where major mining operations are often a mainstay of the domestic economy. Limited environmental regulation and low wages lead to charges of exploitation. Also, large numbers of people have no alternative to living by informal, often dangerous, ‘artisanal’ mining. This Special Publication gives examples from developing countries at all scales of mineral extraction. The volume reviews environmental, economic, health and social problems and highlights the need to solve these before sustainability can be achieved. The better solutions require mutual understanding, through full involvement of all stakeholders, education, training and investment so that small-scale ansd artisinal mines can grow into well-managed operations. At larger scales, most major interantional mining companies have now inoproved their practices and are monitoring their progress, although there is no room for complacency in this rapidly changing area.