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Biometric registration of artisanal miners underway

Artisan and small scale mining is Uganda has important implications for sustainable development. Steps are being moved by Government to improve the economic, social, health and safety environment for artisanal and small scale miners with the launch of the biometric registration study. The launch of the biometric registration consultancy where finger prints and identificat... Read more

NEMA Approves Tilenga ESIA

The Uganda National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has approved the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Tilenga project and issued a 10 years’ certificate to Total E&P Uganda B.V. and Tullow Uganda Operations Pty Limited for the development of six oil fields, an industrial area, buried infield pipelines and supporting infrastructures, ... Read more

Kenya crude oil capacity economically unviable for refinery

Crude oil deposits discovered in Kenya are insufficient to justify construction of a refinery, a senior petroleum ministry official said on Tuesday. Kenya discovered commercial oil in 2012 in its Lokichar basin, which Tullow Oil estimates contains an estimated 560 million barrels in proven and probable reserves. Tullow has said this would translate to 60,000 to 100,000 b... Read more

International mining forum opens in Sudan

  The Fourth Annual Sudan International Mining Forum and Exhibition opened on Monday in capital Khartoum, with more than 40 countries in participation. “This forum is convened under very complicated regional and international circumstances,” said Sudan’s Prime Minister Mutaz Musa, when addressing the forum’s opening session. The current challenge... 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.


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.