In January this year, the Uganda Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners-UGAASM on behalf of over 23 mining associations operating in Mubende-Kassanda gold mining areas petitioned the Natural Resources Committee of parliament requesting, among other issues that the Energy Ministry gazettes for them at least one square kilometer off the mining license EL 1093.
The Natural Resources
Committee of parliament has ordered the Directorate of Geological Survey and
Mines-DGSM in the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry not to renew the
mineral exploration license of AUC Mining Company in Mubende pending the disposal
of a petition filed by Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners-ASMs.
AUC is a locally registered company with Ugandan and British owners whose local
partners include Moses Masagazi and Gertrude Njuba. The company has been
holding three gold exploration licenses in Mubende-Kasanda areas that are due
to expire the end of this month, marking the statutory seven years period of
However, AUC has had a series of clashes with ASMs, which saw them evicted in
2017 when the company and its subsidiary Gemstone International blamed them for
interfering with its activities. The matter came up after AUC had filed for
renewal of 100 percent of their exploration licenses contrary to the statutory
requirement that they relinquish 50 percent of the operating area.
In January this year, the Uganda Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners-UGAASM on
behalf of over 23 mining associations operating in Mubende-Kassanda gold mining
areas petitioned the Natural Resources Committee of parliament requesting,
among other issues that the Energy Ministry gazettes for them at least one
square kilometer off the mining license EL 1093.
Dr. Keefa Kiwanuka,
the Natural Resources Committee Chairperson, says they have observed incontinences
and uncoordinated information regarding AUC’s license of in
addition to the petition filed by ASMs.
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Dr. Kiwanuka notes that they have asked the ministry not to renew the license
as they look into the matter as well as meeting several parties involved. He
says that the committee indents to expedite the matter quickly so that they
produce a report, which will guide the course of action.
Dr. Kiwanuka warns
that Ministries have developed a tendency of overlooking decisions and
directives from parliament, saying his committee exercises powers equivalent to
that of a high court. Last week, the Natural
Resources Committee was briefed by the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines
on the status of gold mining in Mubende.
In their briefing note obtained by
URN, it is stated that the mining operations by AUC are not being carried out in
line with the approved scheme, which is contrary to section 41 of the mining
act. The briefing note further reveals that AUC has failed to file returns, annual
financial reports and carry out annual environment audits contrary to the
mining act, 2003.