Artisanal miners ask govt to revise mining regulations
By: Melanie Aanyu
Artisanal and small-scale miners in Busia and Namayingo Districts have appealed to the government to revise the mining regulations to enable them to operate.
The miners say that the unfair policies and laws are a government initiative to push them out of business to favour the wealthy and big investors in the sector.
They cited policies like the ban on use of mercury and the fine of Shs 120 million as penalty against those found using it, the surface right against mineral right and the requirement of Shs380 million for investment among others.
Engidoh Stephen Paade, the chairperson of Uganda Artisanal and Small Scale Miners in eastern region said that mining employs more than 30,000 people in Busia alone amid challenges like environment destruction.
He said that while it is true that mercury affects people, there is a need for the authorities to move gradually because the blanket ban on mercury use will be counterproductive.
Josephine Aguttu, a leader at Tiira Small Scale Mining Association in Busia District lamented over the gaps in the online system used to apply for license, saying it gives speculators a chance to acquire mining licenses on their land leading to disputes.
Stephen Baraza, a miner in Namayingo complained that the Shs 120 million fine is an abuse and made out of a misconception that gold mining is a profitable venture whereas not.