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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Protracted Environmental Issues and a Proposed Titanium Minerals Development in Kenya's South Coast
Authors:Abuodha, J.Z.
Hayombe, P.O.
Periodical:Marine Georesources and Geotechnology
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Kwale - district
Resources - natural
Metals - titanium
Environment - management
Abstract:This study takes cognizance of the fact that the TIOMIN (TIOMIN Resources Inc. of Canada) project has resulted in controversy over its handling of environmental issues and especially the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The authors address many of the protracted issues that have slowed the development of the mining project in Kwale. The main emphasis is on the impacts of the mining and mineral separation processes on the environment, including the governing legislation, the role of consultation and public participation, and socioeconomic issues. In their public documents TIOMIN has specified neither the type of minerals it wants to extract from the area nor their chemical composition. It is well known, however that the titanium minerals and zircon targeted have impurities of iron, thorium and uranium. In the absence of an Environmental Management Plan, the effects of stockpiling radioactive wastes and other impurities that could possibly lead to environmental degradation in both the terrestrial and marine environments have not been publically addressed. The measures proposed to mitigate ecological damage as a result of the establishment of a minerals processing plant in the area seem inadequate. Pollution resulting from accidental spillage or breakage could have significant impact on marine life and residents living near the mining site. Other issues that have not been addressed satisfactorily pertain to the use of surface and underground water. The area already faces a huge water deficit and the calculations presented on aquifer recharge and stream flow rates do not indicate the large quantities of water that would be required in the mineral processing plant. The project, if approved in its present state, risks violation of international conventions. Furthermore, it could cause a conflict between Kenya and Tanzania in the event of an oil spill at the proposed ship loading facility at Shimoni. The proposed mining area includes the district's most fertile land, is home to many fisherfolk and is a major tourist destination. An analysis of the effects of this project on other available opportunities must be thoroughly understood to ascertain the economic and environmental benefits and costs of the mining venture. The proposed compensation rate of $1,000 per acre, for resettlement for example, appears to be grossly inadequate. Compensation should take into account family size and structure family assets and the cost of relocation. (Journal Abstract).