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Highlights

DGSM opens up Karamoja Regional Office; Fort Portal, Ntugamo, Tororo are next.

The Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) has opened a Regional Office for the Karamoja Region, a move aimed at bringing geological and mining services closer to the people of Karamoja Region. Based in Natumkathikou within Moroto town, the office will serve the other districts of Karamoja namely Amudat, Abim, Kabong, Nakapiripirit, Napak and Kotido. Its constructio... Read more

RIO Shells out $57mln for SIPA project in Kitgum- Pader Uganda

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) has announced it will farm into Sipa Resources’ (ASX: SRI) Kitgum-Pader base metals project in northern Uganda. Rio will serve up US$57 million (A$75 million) in exploration funding and US$2 million in cash payments over up to 11 years as it takes a stake of up to 75% in Kitgum-Pader. The cash component of the joint venture deal will be... Read more

Mining, Agriculture and Pastoralism in Amudat

  Historically, mining is known to overide other existent econmic activities wherever minerals are discovered. Amudat District which is located in Karamoja region in Uganda with pastoralism as the main economic activity has in the recent past seen an increase in the number of liscence applications and mining activities in the district.   The Pokot however have ... Read more

ZRA uncovers a Mining tax scam worth 76.5 billion Kwacha

The Zambia Revenue (ZRA) has started the process of comprehensively auditing mining companies in all applicable tax types.       Last year, the amnesty on interest and penalties was announced to allow tax payers to clean up their tax accounts. Those with issues were expected to engage ZRA and have a waiver on interest and penalties. A post amnesty revie... Read more

Karamoja is known for its seasonal rivers. They flood during the rainy season but completely dry up when the rains cease. Due to the mountainous rocky terrain of the Region, the floods can be quite violent, many times washing away bridges and homes. The water flows down from the steep mountains, gaining speed as it approaches the low lands and carrying rocks and huge boulders with it. When the rains cease and the rivers dry, huge rocks are left lying along the river path, along with all the sand and soil that is washed from upstream which contain one important item: gold!

As the water tumbles down through the mountains to the low lands, it passes by several gold mining and processing centres. Water is a critical ingredient for any gold miner and therefore many gold mining and processing sites are strategically located near rivers for easy access to water. The waste that is disposed into the river by these sites is carried downstream along with the sand and rocks and deposited along the river bed as the river dries up. It is here that the locals come in.

GRACE

At Chepkararat village, Lokales Parish, Karita sub-county in Amudat District, locals have long survived on the gold in the sands of the Chepkararat river bed. Grace Rotic, a 39-year old mother of six, has eked a living from these sands for years. The entire family works here. Her husband and early teenager son dig up the riverbeds and pass on the sand to her for panning-a process where water is passed over the sands, draining it of soils and small stones, in order to expose the gold particles. Gold is a heav

y metal and tends to stay at the bottom of the solution when water is added to the sand.

I found Grace at work in the blistering afternoon heat. Karamoja sun can be unforgiving, but this family has to stand the heat in order to feed. Her less than one year daughter is sleeping under a tree, while two of her older siblings tend to her.

I ask her if she has found any gold. With a smile, she brings the metallic pan closer to my face and shows me two miniscule particles, one shiny silver in colour and the other yellowish brown. That is her catch for the day. Two tiny pebbles of gold. She explains that the silver one has mercury in it and she will have to burn it when she gets home to remove the mercury. This leaves me wondering how much of the gold then will be left.

By Chris Musiime | Photo Credit: Isabella .A.

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