A Migori court has ordered a Chinese firm to stop gold and copper mining activities in Macalder area.
This followed a petition filed by area MP Tom Odege who said the mining activities were illegal and discriminative against the constituents who were not benefiting from the economic venture.
In his ruling dated January 15, Judge G M A Ongondo ordered Linjin Mining Company Limited to restore the environment at the mining site to its original state under the supervision of the National Environment Management Authority.
“I order that the respondent remove forthwith from the site any plants, machineries, equipments, implements and tools which they had erected in Malcader area Nyatike constituency,” he said.
The judge, however, declined to issue orders compelling the Chinese firm to compensate Kenyans on behalf of Nyatike residents for the illegal mining activities.
This, he said, is because he had already directed Linjin Mining Company Limited to restore the mining site to its original state prior to the mining activities.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining and the Director of Mines, who had been listed as respondents, supported the petition.
Acting director Raymond Mutiso said in his affidavit that he never issued a mining licence or permit to the company.
He said the company was, therefore, acting in contravention of the Mining Act, 2016.
In an affidavit sworn by Odege, the MP said there was no public participation before the mining activities commenced and neither was an environmental impact assessment test conducted.
He further said Linjin Mining Company Limited was never granted approvals by the Migori County government, NLC, the national government nor the Kenya Forest Service to carry out mining activities in the area.
The company did not also get parliamentary approvals in line with Article 42 and 70 of the Constitution, he said.
The legislator added that the mining activities were posing a health risk to his constituents.
In his ruling, Judge Ongondo noted that Article 10 of the Constitution grants the residents the right to a clean environment and equal share of the resources within the constituency.
“This petition, it has been shown that the respondents have not been respectful of the environment due to the illegal mining of gold and copper in the Malcader area within Nyatike constituency,” Justice Ongondo said.
Other than agriculture, mining is one of the main economic activities in Nyatike.
A study conducted by the University of Nairobi in 2010 revealed that 70.2 per cent of all artisan gold miners practice gold mining as the principal economic activity.