Opendi notes that she has personally visited the mining site operated by Kisita Mining Company and found workers going about their normal business in disregard of the presidential directives halting all mining activities.
The Energy and Mineral Developments Ministry
has suspended the license of Kisita Mining Company in Kassanda district citing
illegal practices and accumulated tax arrears amounting to Shillings 1.256
The license, which covers 8.716 square
kilometers was issued in 2002 and expires in May 2023. According to the
registration details, the company belongs to Johny Sasirwe, Edward Senfuma, AK
Mawanda (all Ugandans) and HAS Mulder (South African), USA Mining, Strifunovic
The State Minister in charge of Mineral
Development, Sarah Opendi, says although president, Yoweri Museveni suspended mining
activities while announcing the lock down on March 12, several players have failed
to comply even after receiving several warnings.
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Opendi notes that she has personally visited
the mining site operated by Kisita Mining Company and found workers going about
their normal business in disregard of the presidential directives halting all mining activities.
She says that she visited the site with Uganda
Revenue Authority-URA officials and was denied access by some 'rogue’ officers
under the Police Minerals Protection Unit. URA had gone to demand for the tax
arrears and audit the gold mining activities in the area on suspicion that the
company could be under declaring the amount of gold mined from the area.
Opendi also accuses police of abetting illegal
mining activities in Lujinji mining area, which was formerly licensed to Gertrude
Njuba’s AUC Mining Company.
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AUC filed for 100 percent renewal of its exploration
license early this year contrary to the statutory requirement that they
relinquish 50 percent of the operating area. The process was halted by the
Natural Resources Committee of parliament pending the disposal of a petition by
Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners-ASMs.
The ASMs among other things accuse AUC of
connivance with the Police Minerals Protection Unit to mistreat them. Eng.
Vincent Kedi, the Principal Mining Engineer in the Department of Geological Surveys
notes that Uganda is losing a lot of money through illegal mining.
He says the situation is compounded by the
Mineral Protection Unit whose officers are acting contrary to expectation. Eng.
Kedi says in their new draft bill they are proposing to use National
Environment Management Authority – NEMA and URA models where the enforcement
unit is directly under the ministry to avoid clashes.
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Opendi also notes that they have held
meetings with the Internal Affairs Minister and Inspector General of Police to
replace all rogue police officers in Kassanda district.