Statistics from the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining show that at least five gold miners die in mines in Vihiga and Kakamega counties every month.
According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, Gold mining in the region is a largely informal sector with around 8,000 artisanal miners.
Yesterday, two people died at Migori County Referral Hospital after the collapse of the Makalda Gold Mine in Nyatike Subdistrict. At around 9 p.m., one person was rescued and seriously injured, and taken to the hospital.
Four more are still trapped. The recovery is said to have started around 4.15 p.m. when the walls of the mine collapsed.
According to Western Region Mining Commissioner Samuel Too, the majority of the miners are adolescents. Some of them work as day labourers in mines. Only a small number of people — those working by registered miners – have access to credit.
According to the 2019 census, at least 5,341,182 (or 38.9 percent) of Kakamega’s 13,777,600 adolescents are unemployed.
A 2018 report by the Alliance for Responsible Mining, produced in partnership with the UK, said artisanal and small-scale mining remains a major source of employment for many Kenyans.
“By 2012, about 146,000 people were working in artisanal mining in Kenya, while large mining companies employed around 9,000 workers,” the 2018 report said.
The report estimates that the mining sector in Kenya is largely informal, but produces around 60 percent of the country’s precious stones, gold, rubble stones, and other building materials.
In 2015, the share of mining in the country’s GDP was 0.8 percent. The government is aiming for a share of 10 percent in the Vision 2030 through value creation, implementation of the mining and minerals policy and the 2016 Mining Act.