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Artisan Miners in Busia Living in Fear over Eviction

The Chinese investor is constructing a USD 200 refinery covering 300 acres of land in the four villages of Alupe, Agoriat, Akipenet, Amagoro in Mawero parish, Buteba sub-county.
Some of the artisanal gold minors during the sensitization meeting

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Artisan gold miners in Busia district are living in fear of being evicted following the construction of a gold refinery.

Valued at US$ 200M, the gold refinery will seat on 300 acres of land covering Alupe, Akipenet, Amagoro and Amonikakine villages in Buteba Sub-county. The refinery is being constructed by Chinese firm Wagagai Gold Mining Company Limited. 

Completion of the refinery is expected in 2025 and will produce 1,000 kilograms of gold.

The concerns were raised in the meeting held at Tiira Miracle centre on Thursday to sensitize artisan miners to form groups and get mining licenses.

Charles Olowo, Christin Adeke, and Wilfred Ngobi among other artisan miners in Tiira Town Council said that they are living in fear following information that the investors have plans to displace most of them in the area.

This has left most of them struggling to acquire mining licenses. The artisans also appealed to the government to centralize the legalization of miners by putting geological offices at the district level.

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Geoffrey Kwamboyi, the chairman Tiira small scale minor’s association says that they have formed a network to protect them against the investors who may force them out of their place of work.

Geoffrey Kamese, the program manager of Uganda National Association of Coalition for Health-UNACOH says that they are sensitizing artisan miners to form groups and create one network.

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But Samuel Barasa, the Communications Manager Wagagai Gold Mining Company denied the allegations by the artisan miners.

Barasa appealed to the small scale miners to get legalized so that they co-exist with the investors.

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The refinery will be constructed in two phases with each phase costing US$ 100millio. The first phase will be completed in 2023.  

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