The hunt for gold in Kakamega is not yet over, decades after the colonialists left the lucrative mines. Thousands of local miners and multinational companies are still exploiting the valuable resource with the aim of tapping into the multi billion riches.
Geologists say the resource is in abundance within the mining belt, decades after colonialists left the mines.
Trans Minerals Mining Ltd Director, Hector Martinez argues that the resource is underutilized by the locals due to lack of capacity to tap into the extraction. He says, the process is capital intensive hence limiting locals from venturing into large scale exploration.
“The investment in large scale mining is expensive and left to the hands of multinationals alone who have the capacity to reap from the underground gold bank,” says Hector.
He said the locals who do small scale mining suffer from poor prices from the middlemen and brokers.
Jane Akoth , a laborer in the mines say she earns Ksh. 500 a day after a daylong sweat that can fetch barely 3gms of gold. Each gram costs Ksh. 5,000 from local brokers who have erected makeshift kiosks within the expansive mining zones.
Kakamega County Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Mining for construction of a gold refinery in the region.
The move is expected to breach the exploitation of the small scale miners by the brokers. Already the county government has secured a 10 acre land parcel in Ikolomani to pitch a refinery.
Kakamega county is known for its rich deposit and endless reefs. Shanta Gold Limited is a leading multinational that has a mining rights in Roastamine and its environs with hundreds of million investment.
Shanta has deployed heavy rigs in the fields to tap into the underground deposits.
Shanta boasts of ownership of seven gold prospecting licenses from Barrick Gold company. The company is also venturing into diamond mining in Isulu and Bushangala.