With LILLIAN MUSILI
1. Coal is the cheapest source of energy. It is by far cheaper than nuclear, natural gas, oil and the most efficient for industrial development.
2. Coal also provides a stable source of energy (no Arab oil embargoes, no sudden scarcity like you experience with natural gas) in Mui Basin there is a very great potential that can supply more than 2000MW of electricity mostly for industrial utilization.
3. Coal is nothing more than ancient wood which has been under pressure for millions of years. It is not sinister as you may have been led to believe by Kenyan media and some leaders.
People have always been told of the negative impacts of coal mining and utilization without being told that it’s a giant that can transform the economy of Kenya.
4. Coal provides many jobs. Unlike other forms of energy (nuclear, natural gas, oil, hydroelectric), coal provides many jobs in the exploitation of coal from the earth, transporting it to the utility, burning it, and properly disposing the coal ash.
Interestingly the coal ash can be re-used in making of briquettes.
5. There are huge coal deposits in MUI Basin estimated at around 400 MT with a value of close to Kshs 3.5T
We do not have to import this product into this country.
It’s worthy noting that all the Cement and Ceramics companies in Kenya use coal imported from S.Africa and Tanzania.
6. Coal in Mui Basin can be mined and burned with little environmental impacts. There has been tremendous strides in environmental responsibility with mining and burning coal. However, there is still pressure of global warming. If we burn less fossil fuels, what, as a practical matter, is our energy alternative? Nuclear? Hydro? Solar (there is no practical way to provide the massive amounts of electricity needed to run our country through solar energy—it is viewed as impractical at this time)?
And as a matter of fact,the push by the western countries to ban coal mining and use is a selfish move just to make sure that we don’t industrialize and remain a ready market for their products including solar panels.
7. Coal mining land reclamation can give the surface land owner many more options for developing his land. In the Mui mountainous terrain, a mining process call mountaintop removal and can create very valuable and useable level land for the surface owner. The surface owner not only gets his land developed, he is usually paid for the inconvenience of the use of his surface. Surface mining cannot occur without the specific consent of the surface owner. If the surface owners in Mui get lucky enough to own the coal rights, they are looking for will accrue royalty payments from the State.
8. The Kenyan leaders require coal operators to reclaim the land in an equal, if not better, condition that existed prior to mining. Leaders can therefore lobby the state and miners for reclamation in Mui.
9. The prudent us of coal will allow the Kenyan Government the time needed to develop viable alternative energy sources—primarily solar technology and fuel from grain—without any negative impact on our national economy.
10.Coal Electrical rates are low in countries which use it.
11. Coal is good for economic growth and can directly employ over 19,000 persons and indirectly provide an additional 60,000 jobs. In addition to all the normal business taxes, the coal industry in Kenya paid an additional millions in severance taxes to the state.
(As Interviewed by PATRICK KIMANZI Editor)