24 families living around the Base Titanium mining plant in Kwale County now want the company to relocate them to a different location, This move is orchestrated so as to avoid further suffering by these residents due to health complications contributed and attributed to the mining plant.
Appearing before the Mombasa High Court on Monday November 25, 2019, the petitioners filed a class action suit against Base Titanium Limited, the CS Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, Attorney General, National Lands Commission (NLC) and the CS Ministry of Environment and Forestry. They are seeking to stop the ongoing mining process over health complications that they are undergoing as a result of the mining plant.
Among the 24 households, 14 families residing at Nguluku and Nora villages both located in Kwale County want the court to order the mining company to relocate and compensate them as ordered by the Mombasa High Court in Civil Case 97 of 2001 http://kenyalaw.org/caselaw/cases/view/1357.
However, the court order had been issued to a different company -Tiomin Limited. This is the reason as to why Base Titanium has not honored the order. Base Titanium is an Australian Company that acquired a 15 year license for prospecting and mining across Kenya in 2010. Currently they mine Limentine, Rutile and Zircon minerals in the 495.07 hectares of land located in Kwale.
Pauline Mwenye, counsel for the petitioners informed the court that the families were greatly affected by the mining plant as the air and water around the region was contaminated by titanium.
“The Titanium in the air and drinking water has led to irritation, and lung infections,” she said.
She further averred that the company was in disregard of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act regulations that proscribe mining with undue disregard on the environmental impacts of the mining.
However, Base Titanium have said that all the initial land owners at the initial mining lease area had been compensated as at July 6 , 2004.
Off the record, the counsel for the defendants further said that in 2018 the company applied for an area extension so as to include adjacent land portions of prospected areas as well as extra additional land required for mining facilities and operations. This is because the current mines had been exhausted and were not economically viable.
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