A fresh twist in the controversy surrounding the mining of iron ore at Kishushe, Taita-Taveta county has emerged after local residents stopped ten lorries from Wanjala Mining Company from transporting about 300 tonnes of ore from Kishushe.
The disenchanted residents allegedly ordered the lorries to return the ore back into the mine and offload it before leaving Kishushe in a huff.
According to Kishushe resident and chairman of Kishushe Cooperative ranch Eliston Mbela, the miner had embarked on transporting the ore before getting the consent of landowners, that is Kishushe ranching cooperative society.
“The miner was transporting iron ore from his mine without the consent of land owners and the county government, in total disregard to the conditions that he was supposed to abide by when he returned to the mine in September last year,” said Mbela.
Mbela pointed out that the locals were not fighting the investor over the iron ore project, but merely wanted him to abide by the law as agreed before he resumed mining.
Wanjala mining was among the 36 mining firms in the country whose licenses had been revoked by mining cabinet secretary Najib Balala over failure to meet several regulations laid down by the Government.
This came after the conclusion of a probe conducted by a commission led by lawyer Mohamed Nyaoga at the behest of Balala.
However, after ceasing work for about two and a half years, Wanjala Mining returned to Kishushe to continue mining under unclear circumstances.
“Wanjala mining had addressed all the thorny and controversial issues raised by the Government and has received a clean bill of health to continue mining iron ore in Kishushe,” said another official of Kishushe ranch who sought anonymity.
Tug- of- war
However, the weekend incident brings into question the sincerity of local leaders over the iron ore project, which may prompt the question: Who is fooling who?
Wanjala has been in a tug of war with another investor Samruddha Resources Limited who had reportedly been issued with an exclusive mining licence by the Government.
Last year, a section of Kishushe residents protested over the Wanjala mining project, stormed into the heavily guarded mine and camped for several hours before being flushed out by security officers.
The disenchanted residents had camped for days outside the mine gate, and stormed inside after the gates were opened for governor John Mruttu to inspect the mine.
1:The iron ore mine at Kishushe
2:Kishushe residents protest against the iron ore project in Kishushe last year