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Kenya to delay revival of fluorspar mining following dispute over compensation

The Kenyan government is looking to delay the revival of fluorspar mining in Kerio Valley as a result of dispute over compensation with the residents. The over 500 families displaced from 9,070 acres issued new demands to the government last week after the National Land Commission set aside US $9m as compensation.

The issue has since split the families, with some insisting on being given alternative land while others are okay with being given the money. On the other hand, there are those residents who have vowed to remain in their ancestral land with the claim that fluorspar mining has never affected them. Meanwhile, local leaders are lobbying for investors to resume mining.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono criticized the disagreements among locals and called for collaboration with government agencies and officials to hasten compensation. Similarly, Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos appealed for talks between residents, leaders and the government on how to end the stalemate.

Kimwarer Sugutek (Fluorspar) Community chairman Joseph Kandie said counting of families to identify genuine beneficiaries and their preferred mode of compensation is ongoing. He further added that a compiled list would be forwarded to the relevant State departments.

Some of the families displaced more than half a century ago to pave the way for Kenya Fluorspar Company dismissed the US $9m, terming it too little considering the current land market prices.  They are instead demanding US $29,793 per acre for the 921 acres of mining field. According to the land commission, 4,300 genuine landowners in the Kerio Valley will get compensation.

Kenya Fluorspar Company suspended operations and dismissed employees three years ago, citing a slump in prices. Fluorspar is exported in its raw form. It is usually transported by road to Flax township where it is loaded and taken to Mombasa by rail.

South Africa and Morocco are the only countries in Africa now mining fluorspar at South Africa 300,000 and 100,000 tonnes per year respectively.

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