Busia Gold Miners asked to cooperate

Gold miners in Busia district have been asked to form savings and credit cooperative societies to enable them to benefit from efforts to institutionalize the sub-sector.

The district chairman Geoffrey Wandera said the district was in the process of sensitizing the miners on the need of forming cooperatives.

Residents of Busitema, Buteba and Sikuda sub-counties in Busia and other foreigners from Asia thrive on are mining as an economic activity.

“We are set to begin a programme of sensitizing gold miners on the need of forming cooperatives that will help them make savings and protect them from exploitation,” he said.

The cooperatives, he said, will help them maximize the benefits accruing from the mining sub-sector and noted that the artisan miners are willing to work with the authorities.

He said the move is aimed at helping the district and the sub-counties get royalties from the mining sector which he noted was not clear when the ministry last remitted.

Gold mining has been on the decline in Busia as following the shifting of miners to Nakudi Namayingo district and others to Mubende district to look for better opportunities.

Last year, the office of the resident district commissioner and the chief administrative officer spearheaded efforts of organising miners in the area by asking them to register their companies and associations with the authorities.

The miners, however, asked the authorities to lobby for them modern mining equipment saying they still use rudimentary technology to mine gold.

They said many of their colleagues have lost their lives as a result of being buried by the soil which collapses and kill them during the mining exercise.

They also appealed to the authorities to train them in using borax to extract gold than using mercury which they have been using.

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