Mining activities in Uganda have in the past been characterized by chaos, corruption, protests, and evictions that have sometimes turned bloody. Thieves have masqueraded as investors and used corrupt officials to hoodwink the government into giving them mineral exploration and mining licenses.
As a result, the government has lost billions in revenues, locals have been coerced into relocating, and artisanal miners have been forced to leave their mining grounds in areas like Mubende where most of them have been mining for years.
The Police created the Mineral Protection Unit to see to it that miners operate with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development’s rules and regulations, but State Minister Sarah Opendi says the Unit is not cooperating.
While addressing the media at Uganda Media Center yesterday, Opendi says that mines have been taken over by illegal miners and mafias in Mubende.
“The illegal miners, the mafias that have taken over the mines, I want to appeal to you that if you want to mine, come and apply to us so that you are given a prospecting license, an exploration license, and a mining license,” Opendi said, adding that the Ministry decided to suspend the mining license of Kisiita Mining company.
Opendi said that they have lodged a complaint about the non-cooperation of the Mineral Protection Unit who refused to talk them when they visited the mining site on Thursday.