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Mubende Artisan Miners Secure Location License

A statement issued on behalf of the Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Robert Kasande, says the licenses were awarded to Kayonza-Kitumbi Miners Association covering an estimated area of 13.5 Hectares at Bukuya Sub-County in Mubende district to mine gold.
19 Dec 2017 14:58
Artisan Gold Mine Located in Bukuya Mubende District
Artisan Miners in Mubende have finally been granted location licenses almost four months after their operations were halted by the government.

A statement issued on behalf of the Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary, Robert Kasande, says the licenses were awarded to Kayonza-Kitumbi Miners Association covering an estimated area of 13.5 Hectares at Bukuya Sub-County in Mubende district to mine gold.

The Acting Director of the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines Zachariah Baguma is quoted in the statement saying that the over 500 miners will, however, be restricted in some of their operations.

 The miners according to Baguma will not be allowed to engage in mechanized operations, crushing use of mercury and cyanide among others.

Artisan gold miners located in Bukuya and Kitumbi sub-counties in Mubende were on August 10, evicted by armed soldiers who were allegedly acting on orders from President Yoweri Museveni. They later through their members of Parliament petitioned Parliament against the illegal eviction.

The area MPs and the Executive Director of the African Centre For Energy And Mineral Policy (ACEMP) Don Bwesigye Binyina had accused the government operatives of being high-handed while ordering for the evictions.

The miners had in 2016 applied to the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines for location licenses in a bid to legalize their operations but it had not been granted.

Location Licenses according to the Mining Act 2003 provide rights for mining operations of a smaller investment where expenditure to achieve production cannot exceed ten million shillings or five hundred currency points. Holders of a location license are, according to the Mining Act, also restricted from using specialized technology.

The Artisan miners will, according to the location license, be required to pay loyalties as part of their operations. They have in the past not paid royalties to the sub-counties where they were operating. 

Baguma says the Artisan Miners can only be allowed to mechanize their operations once they secure a mining lease that grants higher mining rights. He said the government had halted their operations because it wanted to weed out illegal miners and foreigners that were operating in Bukuya.

Baguma explained that his Directorate also wanted to have Uganda Police Force on board to ensure law and order in the mining sector. He confirmed that The Mines Police Division has since been established.

"We also wanted to bring Police on board and am glad to report that we now have a Mines Police Division," warning that the Location License has stiff conditions that must be adhered to or else risk having it revoked.

Agnes Alaba, the Commissioner in charge of Mines at the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines, advised the miners to quicken the process of acquiring a Mining Lease by fulfilling the obligations as required by the Mining Act 2003.

"For one to have a Mining Lease, you must carry out a feasibility study, acquire surface Rights from landowners, and undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment approved by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)," she said.

Meanwhile, Yusuf Masaba, the Communications Specialist with the Energy Ministry says there are plans to procure for a consultant to map, register, train and develop an Artisan Miners database as part of the further regulation of Artisan mining in the country.