ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources Parliamentary committee will on Thursday February 26th at 10.00am meet with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development on an attempt to resettle over 60,000 Artisanal and Small Scale Miners evicted in Mubende and Kasanda in 2017.
According to reliable sources, this is expected to be a very interesting meeting as the exploration license of AUC company that had evicted them expired and the owners of that company have formed another company and are trying to reapply under another company!
“So will priority be given to the new company or the Artisanal and Small Scale Miners that were evicted?” Asked sources.
INVESTIGATING ISSUES OF GOLD MINING IN KASANDA AND MUBENDE
AUC has been having exploration licences EL 1088 20.9 (SQ KM), EL 1089 (100.85 SQ KM), EL 1093 (207 SQ KM), and EL 1391 for the last seven years.
However, over all these seven years, it has not been undertaking any mining development activities!
According to inspection reports from the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, there has been concerns about AUC not carrying out the mining plan submitted to the ministry, failure to submit returns as required by law, failure to submit annual financial reports, annual environmental reports, lack of competent personnel to carry out mining development activities and failure to notify the Commissioner Minerals that they had ceased mining activities.
AUC’s argument has been that the Artisanal Miners have been interfering with its exploration activities and as a result run to the president who ordered that, as a compensation for the interference, the licence be renewed 100% contrary to the legal requirement that 50% of the area should have been surrendered on renewal.
Subsequently, on the 4th of August 2020, over 60,000 ASMs were evicted from Mubende and Kasanda mining areas, allegedly to curb the illegal mining activities and encourage mineral development through exploration.
It was also intended to avoid loss of government revenue, use of unsafe mining methods and environmental degradation.
However, subsequently, the president also ordered that the investor should surrender at least 30% of the exploration area (10 sq km), to help resettle the evicted ASMs.
The ASMs have since petitioned parliament, that there is no gold in the area that they were allocated and that they are surrendering the 10 SQ KMs in exchange for one sq km of the area where they were previously operating and where they own land under AUC.
On December 10th 2019, a new company; Cratus Resources Limited, was incorporated with the same directors as the directors of AUC.
It was also registered on the same day with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau as a company with the objective of undertaking business exploration and developing of minerals.
On February 13th 2020, the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources convened a meeting of stakeholders to try and resolve the impasse on the resettlement of the ASMs.
However, Omunyoro Baguma, Director, Geological Surveys and Mines, told the Committee that although legally, AUC’s exploration Licence 1093 was expiring on February 19th 2020, it will continue running outside the law, for another one year, allegedly; “because presidential directives becomes law” and that therefore the ministry could not give any part of land under AUC exploration licence to the ASMs.
On February 20th 2020, according to the cadastre map, the Ministry of Energy accepted an application from Cratus Resources Limited for the exploration area of 159.43 sq kms, previously licenced to AUC under licence EL 1093.
Although, the application is subject to verification of documents, at the moment, no other company can apply for this area.