A directive banning sand harvesting and quarrying in six counties to avert workers’ deaths could raise the cost of the building materials.
The ban — which affected Makueni, Kajiado, Embu, Nairobi, Kitui and Isiolo — was issued last Friday by the Ministry of Mining. The ministry said the move was precipitated by rising deaths in quarries.
“In order to curb the menace the ministry has, with immediate effect, deployed inspectors of mines to all affected counties to jointly work with the National Environment Management Authority, occupational and safety officials and county officers to carry out an audit of all quarry and sand harvesting sites,” a statement from the ministry stated.
It warned that any unautthorised mining will be dealt with firmly, including shutdown of operations, suspension of licences and prosecution.
Construction has recorded a boom across the country with county governments providing new capital for a variety of projects from roads to residential and commercial housing construction.
The statement said all operators of quarries and sand harvesting sites must seek clearance before resuming duty, thereby enabling the government to advice them on the next course of action.
The government said the move was necessitated by site operators’ failure to take measures to safeguard miners’ health or safety in case of an incident.