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Ugandan President Orders Closure of Gold Mines Amid Environmental and Security Concerns

What you need to know more about

  • President Yoweri Museveni said to close the gold mines in Okemer village, Abim district, and send the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) there.
  • In 2015, President Museveni stopped people from selling unrefined gold and other minerals after finding a lot of gold worth a lot of money.

President Yoweri Museveni said to close the gold mines in Okemer village, Abim district, and send the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) there.

The minister Phiona Nyamutoro explained that the President wanted to make mining in Alerek and Chamkok official. Many people came to mine gold from March to May 2024. They sold gold for a lot of money, so more people came to mine.

Now, President Museveni wants to find someone to invest in the mines so the community can benefit more. The mines closed because there wasn’t clean water, bathrooms, and there were kids and pregnant women there.

Nyamutoro said they closed the mines to help the miners do things legally and safely. The soldiers are there to help and keep things safe. They aren’t trying to take the gold.

James Shilaku, a leader, said soldiers will stay to keep people safe until there are clear rules for mining.

But some people, like the Kakoka Artisanal Gold Miners Association leader and Julius Cedric Abala, don’t want the mines to close. They say mining is how they make money. Abala thinks the government wants to take the gold secretly.

Abala also mentioned that elephants and buffaloes have been destroying their crops since 2013, but the government didn’t help until they found gold.

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Nyamutoro said they don’t know how much gold is there. Geologists will check and say how to mine safely.

In 2015, President Museveni stopped people from selling unrefined gold and other minerals after finding a lot of gold worth a lot of money.

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