The history of gold mining in Western Kenya dates back to 1892 when deposits of the precious metal were discovered at Lolgorian, along the Nyanza-Rift Valley border. By 1992, more gold deposits had been found in the region by foreign companies and it was now becoming a multi-billion project. The companies are believed to have minted billions of shillings from the mines.
However, actual gold mining in Kakamega District was started by a British company, Rosterman Gold Mines, incorporated and licensed in January 1935 to prospect and mine gold ores. With a capital of Ksh400,000, the company pitched camp three kilometers East of Kakamega. By the time it closed down operations in June 1952, it had milled about 655,000 tones of ore and produced over 259,000 ounces of gold, with a market value estimated to be about Ksh4 billion. Rosterman gold mines remains the biggest commercial firm to mine in Western Kenya. Since the exit of the British company, the interest in exploring gold deposits has been left for area residents and other small-scale miners. Experts believe that huge gold deposits and other minerals still remain embedded underneath the rocks in the province. This has renewed enthusiasm, and the once peaceful and sleepy village is now on a gold rush. Most of them have now underpinned all their hopes for better living on the elusive money-making gem. The renewed gusto in the trade has also reopened doors for companies who are now making camouflaged inroads into the gold project. But despite the long history of gold mining in Western Kenya, residents have little, if not nothing, to show for it. Exploitation by merchants and other buyers means that the benefits rest buried in pockets foreign to them. Besides this, most people have been buried alive in the mines, while others have died after inhaling chemicals. Nevertheless, the surviving ones continue to explore the precious metal.
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