Miners Speak Out on Mercury Use and the New Law

- around the world, blog, in the magazine


Charles Dhizaala: The new law was passed in haste and without consultation of miners but there is need to first find a workable alternative other than rushing to penalize miners for use of mercury. There is also need to look at the mercury supply chains and establish how it gets into the country before criminalizing its use by we miners.





Kwemboi George: the alternative of using borax to process gold only cleans the ore whereas mercury amalgamates it. It appears some people are more interested in promoting borax for selfish reasons because for the miners, it is not a working option.




Odima Hassan: From the age of 15 when I started mining and using mercury, I have grown up hearing how poisonous it is. I am making 45 and have nearly 30 children but I do not see anything wrong with me. I hear the new law has heavy penalties for miners found using mercury.  It is assumed miners make a lot of money but you do not know how much we invest over a long time and actually reap nothing



Kaweesa:  I am a mining engineer who also works with ASMs. Since I left school to work in the field, I can testify that it is much easier to get gold using mercury unlike cyanide which is very expensive. We are now looking for 250 million to set up a cyanide plant. The cynadisation process also takes you up to two months to extract gold. During that period how would we be surviving?





Joweria Nanfuka: Mercury affects we women more than anyone else. We should all be on the lookout for people burning gold amalgam near our homes, children should be taken far away from burning points to prevent inhalation of mercury vapour.




Aguttu Josephine: The new law has come, there are repercussions for mercury use. There’s nothing we can do about it; we are now gearing efforts towards protecting ASMs & gradually reducing mercury use. Let’s protect ourselves, wear masks while burning amalgam.



Dr. Benjamin Wabwire: Renal failure is one of the most expensive treatments. The effects of mercury inhalation may not be seen immediately but occur over time with the greatest effect being on the unborn children.

Mercury is a heavy metal that settles at the bottom of water sources where miners carry out their processes and is ingested through food like fish.



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