NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya plans to reform its laws in order to phase
out use of mercury in artisanal gold mining, a government
official said on Monday.
principal secretary, state department of mining in the ministry
of petroleum and mining told journalists in Nairobi that the
Mining Act of 2016 will be amended in order to provide
incentives for the small scale miners to use alternatives for
mercury in the separation of ore from gold.
“We hope to have the
law reformed in the next one and half years so that we eliminate
use of mercury in gold mining,” Omenge said during an event to
review preparations of the upcoming Kenya Mining Forum.
He said that
currently small scale miners are forced to use mercury due to
lack of viable alternatives.
Omenge noted that
elimination of mercury in the mining sector is part of
government initiatives to improve the health and safety of
workers in the mining sector.
According to Omenge,
Kenya’s mining sector contributes about 0.8 percent of the Gross
Domestic Product (GDP).
The third edition of
the Kenya Mining Forum is being organized by Kenya Chamber of
Mines and will take place from Nov. 13 to 14.
Moses Njeru, the CEO
Kenya Chamber of Mines (KCM) said that the mining event will
focus strongly on how the mining industry can contribute to
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda of universal health
care, affordable housing, manufacturing and food security.
He noted that the
mineral industry provides key raw materials for at least three
pillars of the Big Four Agenda.