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Eviction of Illegal Miners Underway in Mubende District

A statement issued on August 2 by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development permanent Secretary Dr Stephen Robert Isabalija said that government has noted an influx of people involved in illegal mining in the areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub Counties.

Audio 2

Security forces have started the eviction of illegal gold miners in Mubende District. The operation conducted by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF and Police, seeks to help the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to reorganize and regulate mining activities in the area.

It is informed by the findings on illegal mining and occupation involving unlicensed miners from Uganda, China, Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania among others who had taken over the areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya in Mubende district.

The groups have neither operating licenses nor satisfactory immigration documents, according to data by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral development.

On August 2, Dr Stephen Robert Isabalija, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development permanent Secretary said that government had noted an influx of people involved in illegal mining in Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub Counties.

He added that the miners were using highly mechanized mining operations such as bulldozers to excavate the ore; sophisticated machines to grind the ore and mercury and cyanide in the processing of gold. He added that the actions had resulted into environmental degradation and affected the health and safety of the people living in these areas.

A statement issued by UPDF Spokesman Brig. Richard Karemire today indicates that the existence of such illegal miners is a security risk as unlawful elements and dissidents such as ADF, M23, Interahamwe and other negative forces can possibly use it as a sanctuary to cause insecurity in Uganda.

Police spokesperson Asan Kasingye told Uganda Radio Network that the operation which started in the morning is moving on well.   

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Sadi Kajoba, one of the gold miners in the area says they have been treated unfairly since they have not been given enough time to end their activities.  He says the gold mining areas in Mubende accommodates over 60,000 people and that government should have accorded them time to leave peacefully.

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Government is putting in place intervention measures whereby all the local artisan will be registered in all mining areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub Counties so that they can be organized in groups that shall ultimately be registered…the intervention is anticipated to take three months, according to Dr Isabalija.

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