MPs probe police, army over gold miners evictions

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The Minister of Energy and Minerals, Hon. Irene Muloni, has said that the government plans to regularise gold mining to minimise illegalities involved in gold mining and trade.

Muloni was responding to a motion tabled by Hon. Michael Bukenya (Bukuya County) to investigate the eviction and displacement of small scale miners in Mubende District.

This was during a plenary session on Tuesday, 12th September, 2017.

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 nationwide and will entail fully 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: “We will submit to Cabinet a policy to regulate small scale mining and 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.”

Muloni said that the Ministry was conducting operations in areas where illegal gold mining is taking place because the government was losing a lot of revenue that would be attained from regulating the activities.

However, Hon. 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.

Furthermore, Hon. Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality) asked the Minister for an explanation as to why the miners were given only two hours’ notice by UPDF to leave the mines.

He also echoed the concern raised by Bukenya on the issue compensation of the evicted artisans.

The Rt. Hon. 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.