The government has been conducting geothermal surveys Which Involved drilling eight temperature gradient holes to exploit geothermal energy at the famous Kibiro hot-springs. However, one of the holes that were being drilled by M/s Royal Techno Industries Limited, exploded on March 29, letting out a waxy mixture containing natural gas, clay, water, drilling mud and limited traces of oil which smelled like gasoline.
More than 100 households are
living in fear following a mud spill that occurred when a geothermal
exploration hole exploded letting off spillage into Kibiro Village in Hoima district.
The government has been conducting geothermal surveys Which
Involved drilling eight temperature gradient holes to exploit geothermal energy
at the famous Kibiro hot-springs. However, one of the holes that were being
drilled by M/s Royal Techno Industries Limited, exploded on March 29, letting
out a waxy mixture containing natural gas, clay, water, drilling mud and
limited traces of oil which smelled like gasoline.
Subsequent examinations of the impact of the spill found
that one house located approximately 60 meters downstream from the well towards
the lake was surrounded by a mixture of clay, drilling mud and sand, while the pit
latrine was filled by mud fluids that flowed from the well. The access road along the lake shore leading
to the neighbouring landing site of Kyabarangwa had residues of mud, clay and
sand, while water reeds along the shore of the lake had a black deposit which
resembling crude oil, at the water level mark.
In the aftermath, the ministry of energy announced that
it was halting the conducting of detailed surveys from geothermal locations at
Kibiro in Hoima district, Panyimur in Pakwach district and Buranga in
Bundibugyo district where preliminary surface studies had indicated geothermal
reservoirs, until a comprehensive Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, is
The Ministry of Energy Permanent
Secretary Robert Kasande said that although it was not possible to quantify the
materials discharged into the environment, the fact that spillage took more
than nine hours shows that significant quantities of materials were released
into the environment.
But despite the suspension of activities, the community neighbouring
the sites is still living in fear. Many of the residents told URN that they are
fearing for their dear lives following the explosion. According to the residents, the spill poses
a risk to their livelihood and health and also threatens the historical hot
Residents said that the incident was scary because to
many, it was the first time to see such a happening. Kibiro Landing Site Chairperson
Godfrey Abigaba says that the oily materials that went into the lake could be
dangerous to their lives and the fish in the lake, their sole source of
//Cue in; “Gas ekarugayo eka…
Cue out…Tusaba Gafumenti erugeyo.”//
John Byamukama, another resident
calls for compensation to the residents whose property was destroyed during the
//Cue in; “Kandi hanu bintu…
Cue out…Ebintubye byasisikaire
Yusuf Bitagasi, another resident
wonders why the government and the contractor never informed or sensitized residents
of their activities in the area saying some of them only learnt about the activity
after the explosion.
//Cue in; “Ekintu bakaire
Cue out…Tuli aho Tutikumanya.”//
Augustus Bikobo another resident
calls on the government to make public the investigations report that shows how
the spillage occurred and the contents of the spill and also tell the residents
the impact of the spillage on waters of the lake, soil and the communities
//Cue in; ”Itwe nka bataka…
Cue out…byomwezi yo
Vicent Bagonza, also a resident
says the spillage that occurred could endanger the critical biodiversity and
people’s livelihoods. He wants the Company’s contract terminated for allegedly
carrying out the project without the consent of the area residents.
In January this year, Bunyoro
Kitara Kingdom opposed a government proposal to establish a geothermal
electricity Project at Kibiro hot springs in Hoima district. The hot springs,
located 35-kilometres North of Hoima town in Kigorobya Sub County, form a water
stream that meanders into Lake Albert.
The water at the springs is
always boiling at 100 degrees and is often used by locals to boil eggs and food
like potatoes, cassava and green bananas. It has also been found to contain
varying amounts of minerals and chemicals with medicinal value, among them,
Sodium chloride, potassium chloride, Lithium Sulphate, calcium sulphate,
calcium phosphate, and magnesium chloride.
According to the Kingdom
officials, the project was likely to destroy the site’s ecosystem and frustrate
plans to elevate the springs to a United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation-UNESCO Heritage site.