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Wakiso District Moves to Support Artisanal Miners

Wakiso district is endowed with development minerals which are mined, processed, manufactured and used domestically in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. The development minerals include sand, clay, quarry stones and kaolin among others. The district has 78 stone aggregate sites, 293 clay sites and 150 sand mining sites.
Artisanal Miners extracting quarry stone in Mende Sub County

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Wakiso district has embarked on a new strategy to improve the operations of Artisanal and Small Scale Miners in the development minerals’ sub-sector.         

Wakiso district is endowed with development minerals which are mined, processed, manufactured and used domestically in construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. The development minerals include sand, clay, quarry stones and kaolin among others. The district has 78 stone aggregate sites, 293 clay sites and 150 sand mining sites.                    

The District Natural Resources Officer Rebecca Ssabaganzi says that they intend to primarily focus on clay, quarry stones and sand; the three minerals which are already being exploited, by building the capacity of the miners on safety, sanitation and environment conservation.         

Ssabaganzi says they have so far kicked off with mapping and locating spatial Artisanal and Small Scale Miners in four lower local governments of Kasanje, Kakiri, Mende and Namayumba. Besides locating the different mining sites, the district will be studying the working conditions of Artisanal miners and training them to add value to their work. This component of the project, targeting over 30 mining sites, is costed at 18 million Shillings. 

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Ssabaganzi further observes that they will use the same project to sensitize miners to form formal leadership structures to control child labour and tap into various government programmes.  

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She adds that the miners can as well receive grants from development partners to support and develop their work. She pointed them to the African Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Ltd (AGF) which targets 5000 micro, small and medium scale ‘Development Minerals’ operators in Africa.    

Ahmed Kasumba, one of the miners from Mende quarry site says that artisanal miners have been neglected for so many years despite their contribution to the district's revenue. William Kakooza, another artisanal miner observed a need for high-quality safety gear to guarantee the safety of miners at work.   

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Wakiso District Vice Chairperson Betty Naluyima is optimistic that the project will solve questions related to sand mining in Wakiso. She says that they will be reaching out to sand miners to forge a way forward on how they can continue with their activities without breaking the law.    

Records indicate that the neglected development mineral’s sub-sector employs over 400,000 Ugandans, 44 percent of who are women. Artisanal Mining is responsible for the production of an estimated 83 percent of all Development Minerals by value in Uganda.