The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Eng. Irene Muloni, has said that the government plans to legalise small scale gold mining and trade so that it can raise revenue from the artisans.
Muloni said as she was responding to a motion tabled by MP Michael Bukenya (Bukuya County) to investigate the eviction and displacement of small scale miners in Mubende District. This was during a plenary session in parliament two days ago.
The Motion called for investigation into the police and army eviction of 60,000 small scale artisans operating in the gold mines in the district.
Muloni said that the process of reorganising mining sites was on-going across the country and will include regularising mining of gold.
“We plan to move businesses located at the sites to nearby trading centres, the small scale miners are going to be resettled and given new demarcated sites. They are also going to be registered for purposes of proper revenue collection,” she said.
She added that her ministry will submit to cabinet a policy to regulate small scale mining in the country. “It will cater for all the issues that these artisans are faced with. We need to have the activities regularised and carried out in a legal manner so that the government does not lose out, the minister said.
Muloni said that the Ministry was conducting operations in areas where illegal gold mining takes place to minimize on loss of revenue.
However, Bukenya urged the government to speed up the process of formulating a policy to govern and protect small scale artisan miners and compensate those whose property was damaged in the eviction.
Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality) tasked Minister for an explanation as to why the miners were given only two hours’ notice by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces soldiers to leave the mines and queried the process of compensation of the evicted artisans.
Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, directed the Minister to speed up the process of formulating a policy to govern the mining sector and to constantly furnish Parliament with the progress on the policy and rehabilitation of the artisans.