In a country like Kenya, artisanal and small-scale mining represents a significant proportion of gemstone mining. Taita Taveta County is the largest producer of gemstones, with artisanal and small-scale mining accounting for over 60% of its annual production. Gemstone mining is a source of employment and an important foreign exchange earner for both the national and county governments. The coronavirus pandemic has affected artisanal and small-scale mining all over the world. The COVID-19 crisis has accentuated the pre-existing challenges facing the mining economy, particularly artisanal mining. One of these is the lack of strong institutions to protect the lives of the artisanal and small-scale miners as well as the environment. The Kenya Mining and Minerals Policy provides guidelines on the development of mining and mineral resource sectors. But artisanal mining still faces barriers to technological, workplace, social and environmental protections.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION