What you need to know:
- Small scale miners says it is important that government builds capacity among artisanal miners to supplement existing production
Miners have asked government to invest and facilitate artisanal and small-scale gold mining to enable increased revenue and effective tax collection.
Speaking during a knowledge exchange programme organized by Uganda Association of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners in partnership with Solidaridad East and Central Africa in Tanzania, Mr John Bosco Bukya, the association chairperson, said it was important that government builds capacity among artisanal miners to supplement existing production.
However, he said, miners should also embrace the law and traceability of gold, noting that: “We need to support government via transparency and participation in government system to ease collection of taxes.”
Dr Flugy Mukasa, who operates under Mubende Miners’ Assembly, said government should interest itself in helping small scale miners to establish model mines that can equip and train miners on safe processes to reduce risks involved in gold mining.
The advantage of establishing model mining entities, he said, will enable local miners to acquire skills, which in the long term will save Uganda from investing in expatriate knowledge and benchmarking travels.
“The private sector needs to be supported to start manufacturing most of the items used in mining especially small scale mining,” Dr Mukasa said, noting that government should also recruit and train more mining inspectors, geologists and mining engineers in areas where mining has been established.
Mr Joshua Rukundo, the Solidaridad East and Central Africa programme officer, said developing small scale miners starts with government’s will to level the playing field by easing acquisition of a mining license and do away with bureaucracies, which sometimes results into non-compliance.
“Miners need to make an effort to register limited companies because it is clearer and easy to tax a company than an association. If the requirements are clear from government and the miners formalize their operations, the next thing will be how the requirements are enforced” he added.
A 2018 report titled Economic Contributions of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Uganda shows that artisanal mining is economically significant to an estimated five million Ugandans.