A cloud of uncertainty is still hanging over limestone mining in Mwingi area of Kitui county. This is especially so after the sale of Athi River Mining Company which had acquired mining rights in the area over 12 months ago.
The ambiguity is worrying the locals who remain in darkness over payment for their mineral rich land that was sold to National Cement Company in 2018.
Ngaaie area in Mwingi North is rich in limestone but the land now lies unexploited.
Some of the limestone that had been dug is evidence of previous mining activities. To make matters worse, residents whose land had been purchased by Athi River Mining Company to mine the limestone are yet to receive their cash.
The company had agreed to pay 400,000 shillings per acre but by mid last year only 150,000 shillings had been remitted.
It all started when Athi River Mining Company which had acquired mining rights in the area in 2013, went into financial instability and placed under administration in August 2018.
It was later sold to the National Cement Company; however uncertainty continues to surround the mining activity in the area as it now emerges that residents say they were short changed by their local leaders and liason committee.
Some say that the purchase of land by ARM was also not agreed upon by all members of the public in the first place.
They further claim there was no clear plan of re-location and resettlement when mining starts, hence most residents risked being rendered homeless eventually.
The residents now want the government to intervene and clear the air and ensure all mining regulations are adhered to before any other process kicks off.