Sunday, July 2, 2017

Gold Rush of Mubende central Uganda

Robinah Nantale sits next to a pit. Holding a hammer she breaks down rocks of multiple colours. “These stones have been extracted from a vein that has gold,” Ms Nantale, a 39-year-old mother of five, says. She is among the estimated 50,000 people that have thronged the remote hilly areas of Mubende District, about 172 kilometres west of Kampala, in search of gold. Congested settlements built haphazardly characterize the region.
15-year-old Agaba fled his home and became one of the 15,000 children working in artisanal gold mining in the country. He is one of the oldest children working at this mine – some are as young as eight. He spends up to 11 hours a day bending over makeshift gold pans, sluicing gold ore while standing ankle-deep in ponds of mercury and water.
He says on a good day he makes 10,000 shillings, about $2.50.
The rocky hills have been excavated by miners who have dug hundreds of underground tunnels in search of gold. Mining has degraded the environment in the area. The illegal miners have contaminated water sources with mercury and cyanide.

Artisanal and small scale mining operations produces over 90% of the national mineral output and about 200,000 Ugandans are employed.