Kenya - A Mine Contraversy

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Tiomin Resources, a Toronto-based mining company, concluded a deal with the Kenyan government in July 2004 for a 21 year lease to mine for titanium in Kwale district, Kenya. The mine is estimated to displace around 5000 Digo and Kamba people who currently reside in the area marked for the project.

In the year 2000 the Coast Mining Rights Forum demanded that the project comply with both Kenyan and international standards. This seems a contradictory demand as Kenyan land laws do not offer protection for farmers who have no title deeds, leaving a large proportion of the Kwale inhabitants who were farming the land - long before the land laws were created - vulnerable to displacement. Moreover, as stated by Rights and Democracy, the mining deal violates the Universal Declaration of Human rights, which states that nobody shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. The mine is to go ahead without proper consent from the farmers affected and without a sufficient plan to mitigate the environmental impacts of the mine. 400 km of complex and beautiful coastal ecosystem is under threat from water depletion, sulphur dioxide emissions and the release of hazardous radioactive substances.

Tiomin Resources is among the many Canadian mining companies notorious for their illegal and exploitative activities in countries where human rights and environmental laws are either weak or altogether absent. The company has been manipulating the Kenyan political system to secure the deal, operating through dubious means without adequate transparency. Recently resistance to the project has been mounting, with NGOs and local Kwale inhabitants raising opposition to the insufficient compensation and resettlement plans.

'Kenya - Mine Controversy' was produced by ZAHRA MOLOO of CKUT Radio in Montreal, with translation from Kiswahili by Andrew Mwangura, and features interviews taken in August of 2005 with villagers of the affected areas of Maumba and Nguluku as well as representatives of the human rights organizations Muhuri, (Muslims for Human Rights), and the Coast Rights Forum. It provides an insight into the history of the titanium mining deal, its impact on the people of the region and on the environment, and exposes the irresponsible and unprofessional nature of Tiomin's corporate practices.

To read more about the Kenya mining controversy, visit the following websites:

Probe International: http://www.probeinternational.org/pi/mining/index.cfm?DSP=subcontent&AreaID=202

Rights and Democracy: http://www.ichrdd.ca/site/media/index.php?lang=en&subsection=news&id=478

Mining Watch Canada: http://www.miningwatch.ca/index.php?/Tiomin/Tiomin_in_Kenya

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