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Government to Register Local Miners

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Miners are seen sieving gold crystals from Muddy water in Bugiri 348km (216miles) east of Kampala, Uganda’s capital on February 5, 2013. The miners mix crushed excavated soils with mercury which forms a mixture with gold. It’s later heated to separate the gold. The gold is sold to local brokers who in turn market it to the international market. Reuters/Edward Echwalu

The government of Uganda is going to register all local artisans in all mining areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub counties as a way of combating illegal mining activities.

This follows a discovery by government of Uganda about the presence of an influx of people amongst  which are foreigners  from  neighboring  countries  and  beyond  that  are  involved   in illegal mining in areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub counties  in Mubende  district.

In a statement that was issued today from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Stephen Isabalija, the permanent secretary at the ministry, said that the presence of the foreigners in these areas is a threat to the locals as well as the mining sector since they are using rudimentary machines in the process which are harmful to the environment.

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“These people do not only use rudimentary methods such as hoes, spades and basins to pan and extract gold but some of them undertake highly mechanized mining   operations   such   as   using   bulldozers   to   excavate    the   ore;   use sophisticated machines to crush and grind the ore; and also  use mercury  and cyanide in  the   processing   of  gold,” DR. Isabalija said in a statement.

He added: “these have resulted   into   environmental degradation and also affected the health and safety of the people in the areas of these mining operations.  In addition, the presence of foreigners in these areas can result into a security threat to the people of the area and the country at large.”

In order to address the above mentioned problems, government under MEMD will register the local miners in the same areas and organize them into groups which will be easy to regulate.

This intervention is anticipated  to take three  (3) months  and will subsequently help the Ministry  of  Energy  and  Mineral  Development  to  re-organize   mining activities in Mubende  area  and the  country  at  large.

The Intervention will be supported by Uganda Police Force; Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces’ Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control under the Ministry of Internal Affairs; and will be led by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

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