Government is final stages of zoning all mining areas as a method of restoring order in the mining sector.

According to Eng Vincent Kedi, the Principal Engineer in charge of mining, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the zones will introduce clear characterisation and clarification of miners and deter them from moving anyhow in search of new mining opportunities.

“The new system will make small scale and artisanal miners organised and respect owners of particular mining zones which reduces conflicts over mining areas and rights,” Eng Kedi said.

He said a similar system has been successful in Tanzania and Rwanda.

He said they will soon select leaders of various mining groups and companies in Uganda and take them to Rwanda and Tanzania to learn the best practices as far as mining zones are concerned.

Mr Kedi was speaking to players in the sector in Bugolobi Kampala, on Tuesday during a review of the Mining Act 2003.

He said once the zones are in place, medium and small scale miners as well as artisanal miners will peacefully exist in the business.

Last year, a combined force of police and army evicted about 20,000 artisanal miners from several mines in Kassanda and Kitumbi in Mubende District.

The eviction followed a protracted conflict between the artisanal miners and AUC as well as Gemstone International, which companies have gold exploration licences in the area.

The companies accused the artisanal miners of encroaching on the areas licenced to the companies.

Eng Kedi said on May 7, 2018, Cabinet approved the Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2018 on which replaced the Mineral Policy for Uganda 2001 adding that all stakeholders in the sector will be catered for.

He said they are also reviewing the mining regulations of 2004 to introduce an online mineral licencing platform which will usher in transparency and efficiency.

Under the new guidelines, he said, organised mining groups, companies and associations will be able to acquire licences and follow the best mining practices that don’t endanger the environment and other social safeguards.

Earlier, Buhweju County MP, Francis Mwijukye, said the Energy Ministry has a tendency of not involving local leaders and politicians where mining takes place to make artisanal miners appreciate new policies in the sector.

A concept note by Ms Christine Aboke, the interim country director of Action Aid Uganda, the convener of the review process indicated that they have been engaging all stakeholders in the mining sector to ensure justice and fairness between artisanal miners and big players.