Artisanal gold miners in Mubende have petitioned Parliament through the petitioners said that the eviction which was done by the police and army resulted in loss of property and paralysed their livelihood.
The residents claim the time was inadequate.
The Vice Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Keefa Kiwanuka (Kiboga East) who received the petition asked the affected miners to remain calm as government finds a permanent solution.
The Committee was on a fact finding field visit on Tuesday 22nd August 2017 to Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub- counties in Mubende where small scale miners have been operating.
The State Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Peter Lokeris, had earlier appeared before the Committee and informed the Members about the impromptu eviction of the small scale miners.
“All mineral resources belong to the Central Government and it is the mandate of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to promote the development, strategically manage and safeguard the rational and sustainable exploitation and utilization of mineral resources for social and economic development,” Lokeris said.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Dr. Stephen Isabalija revealed to the committee that Uganda is endowed with various mineral resources in different parts of the country and people have occupied these areas in large number to exploit minerals.
The Mining Act of 2003 defines a small-scale mining operation as prospecting or mining operations which does not involve expenditure in excess of five hundred currency points (UGX 10million) or the use of specialised technology.
The Energy Ministry states that the small scale miners had acquired specialised equipment which requires them to have a mining lease or a location licence to be allowed to continue in the mining business.
Lokeris appreciated the steps taken by the Committee to investigate the issues surrounding gold mining in Mubende District.
He however, requested the legislators who accused the Ministry for carrying out the eviction to be patient as the Ministry draws a final plan on the fate of the local miners.
This prompted Members to ask the Minister to let the miners go back to the mines since it was their source of livelihood and the district too was benefiting in terms of taxes.
“People who have been evicted are Ugandans looking for survival. It was unfair to evict them in such a way,” Hon. Florence Namayanja said.
Hon. Keefa Kiwanuka said that the reasons given for the eviction were not convincing enough.
He assured the affected persons that their voice has reached the right people who are going to do everything possible to help them.
He added that, “we are going to investigate and ascertain who were involved in the actual eviction that led to loss of your property”.
Over 70,000 people from Kitumbi and Bukuya Sub counties were evicted from the mines.