The government has moved to allay fears of massive displacements once the coal mining project in Kitui County gets underway.
Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi assured locals that human environmental safety concerns will be considered before the mining kicks off.
However, the minister said residents will not be compensated for the coal deposits because the mineral doesn’t legally belong to them.
He said resource sharing will be determined by the Revenue Allocation Commission under a special Act of Parliament.
“There will be minimum disruptions but those who will be relocated will be adequately compensated at market rates and in line with World Bank guidelines on resettlement of people in project areas,” he said.
The minister told a forum of leaders and residents from the project area that modern clean coal mining technologies will be used to ensure carbons and dust emissions are captured and recycled in a manner that does not affect human health.
He gave the assurance after Fenxi Mining Industry Company of China won the contract to begin coal extraction in two coal blocks once Parliament approves the mining concession agreement
The project to extract 400 million tons of coal in the county’s Mui basin will kick off in 12 months once Parliament passes the mining Bill and also approves concessions awarded by the ministry of Energy.
Mr Murungi said an inter-ministerial coal committee involving Treasury, Lands, Water, the Environment and Energy ministries had been formed to oversee the project, which will pump an additional 1,500 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.