By Okoodi Deo
Ministry of energy and mineral development has deployed police in Buhweju district to stop illegal gold mining practices in the area.
Commissioner in charge of mineral department Alaba Jessica says the move will force all artisanal gold miners to be licenced and start paying revenue to government.
She warned that government is ready to close their operations in case artisanals who are said to have graduated to small scale gold miners fail to operate within the legal mining framework.
She further said that energy and mineral development ministry will undertake biometric registration and profiling of all artisanal mining sites in the country to discourage cases of immigration of artisans.
Alaba noted that environment has seriously been degraded in gold deposits areas within Buhweju district and that the situation requires a lot of resources for restoration and filling the gaping holes that are posing high risks to animals and people adding that such funds must be realised from the same sector.
The commissioner together with mineral police protection officials were assessing the effects gold mining has caused in Buwheju district and the surrounding areas.
Western region chairperson of artisanal gold miners Beinomugisha Desusdedit says more than 20.000 people involved in gold mining business in Buhweju district are ready to comply to governments mineral mining standards so long as government recognizes their contribution to the development of the mining sector in the country.
Keigomba Jessica the head of mineral police protection unit assured the artsanals that police will not harass and arrest them but rather ensure compliance of mining guidelines so as to mitigate effects of environment. She also urged them to protect women and children from the mining hazards.
Source: www.mknewslink.com a greater western Uganda news website