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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya to reform laws to phase out use
of mercury in artisanal gold mining   

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.

John Omenge, 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.

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