The government has donated various mining equipment to assist small scale miners in Taita Taveta County.
The equipment — issued by Public Service, Youth and Gender and Mining ministries on Wednesday — include shovels, excavators, bulldozers and tippers.
The tools are expected to benefit more than 40 youth and women groups in the county.
Speaking during the launch of the equipment, Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu said the tools will only benefit small-scale miners who do not have the capacity to afford expensive mining equipment.
“The government is keen to ensure that small scale miners are empowered to reap maximum benefit from minerals especially women and youth” Mr Kazungu said.
Mr Kazungu also said the government will also empower the groups financially by providing loans under affirmative funds from the government.
He noted that the government had made it easy for the targeted groups to access the interest-free loans, which they would use to expand their mining business.
“We have various kitties which you can access to help you with financial issues. The government has provided avenues like the Youth Enterprise and Development Fund, Women Enterprise Fund, Uwezo Fund, National Government Affirmative Action Fund which you can access easily,” he said.
The CS also said the government would make Taita Taveta County a mining model in the county.
He said the government has built a Sh100 million gemstone centre in Voi town that will be used by miners to add value to their precious stones before selling them abroad.
He said the government will in the next two months equip the centre with modern equipment for gemstone cutting.
“Apart from this gemstone centre the ministry is also constructing a mining institute at the Taita Taveta University which will offer training for students who would want to venture into mining industry,” he said.
He said the institute will offer degree, masters and PhD courses.
Public Service Gender and Youth Affairs Principal Secretary Pauline Omollo urged youth and women groups in the county to take up the opportunity to benefit from the equipment.
The PS said National Youth Service donated the equipment after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the two ministries to donate the equipment to youth and women in the county.
“The equipment will only be used by women and youth and women groups who have little resources to venture into mining. These equipment belong to the government and should not be used by politicians or influential people to enrich themselves,” she warned.
Taita-Taveta Woman Representative Joyce Lay said the equipment will help artisanal miners who are forced to use manual equipment while mining.
“Our youth will now be busy because of this project so cases of drug abuse and immortality will reduce,” she said.