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Dangote Cement Records 12.6% Sales Volume Increase Across Africa

Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer, has announced its unaudited results for the six months ended 30th June 2017, posting a 12.6 percent increase in sales volume across Africa. 

In the financials released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange indicated that the increase in sales volume showed a growing capture of Pan-African market as Dangote Cement continues to gain grounds.

Revenues from operations in Nigeria increased by 34.5 percent  to ₦291.4 billion while Pan-Africa revenue increased by 63.7 percent to ₦124.4B from ₦76.0B mainly as a result of increased volumes and foreign exchange gains when converting the sales from country local currency into Naira.

Analysis of the half year result revealed that sales volumes of African operations increased by 12.6 percent to 4.7 million metric tons with Sierra Leone making a   53 kt maiden contribution.

Record of sales from its operations scattered around the African continent revealed that a total of 1.1million ‘metric tons of cement was sold in Ethiopia, almost 0.7 million metric tons sold in Senegal, 0.6 million metric tons sold in Cameroon, and 0.5 million tons in Ghana.

Also, 0.4 million metric tons of cement was sold in Tanzania and 0.3 million tons in Zambia. Sales volumes from Nigerian operations fell from 8.8Mt to 6.9Mt, occasioned by the onset of rains which stalled many construction projects.

Reflecting on the half year results, Dangote Cement’s Chief Executive Officer, Onne van der Weijde expressed satisfaction that the company’s revenues have continued to grow despite low sales from the Nigerian operations noting that the revenues grew on the strength of sales from other African operations.

Said he: “Our revenues have continued to grow despite the lower volumes seen in Nigeria, especially because of the recent heavy rains. Our margins have improved significantly, helped by improved efficiencies and a much better fuel mix in Nigeria.

“We are using much more gas and increasing our use of coal mined in Nigeria, thus reducing our need for foreign currency and supporting Nigerian jobs.

”Our Pan-African operations are growing well and increasing market share. We saw our the first sales from Sierra Leone in the first quarter and our new plant in the Republic of Congo will be in production at the end of July, further increasing our footprint across Africa and strengthening our position as its leading manufacturer of cement.”

The Company reports that it estimated that Nigeria’s total market for cement was 10.2 million tonnes (Mt), 23.2% lower than the estimated 13.3Mt sold in Nigeria in the first half of 2016. Of total market sales in the first half of 2017, just 0.1Mt was imported. 

“As a result of the slower market, our Nigeria operation sold nearly 6.9Mt of cement, down 21.8% on the 8.8Mt sold in the first half of 2016. We estimate our market share to have been about 64.5% during the first six months of 2017.   

Dangote Cement is a high-growth, low-debt, internationally diversified company that has just paid a dividend amounting to nearly 75% of 2016 net profits to shareholders.

“The recent publication of our credit ratings highlights the financial strength we have achieved through our unwavering focus on the profitable expansion of the business, underpinned by our belief that we must remain prudent in our financial management.”, Mr. Weijde stated.

Nigeria Gets $1.5bn Nitrogenous Fertilizer Plant

Nigeria’s acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Thursday in Port Harcourt inaugurated a giant world-class fertilizer plant, built by Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Limited at the cost of $1.5 billion. 

The acting President used the opportunity to remind all Nigerians that time has come for them to grow whatever they eat and produce whatever they consume.

“What Indorama is accomplishing today is very much in line with President Buhari’s vision for a country that produces what it consumes and grows what it eats. If you had to sum up our vision for the Nigerian economy in a few words, these would suffice. Grow what we eat, produce what we consume,” he said.

Prof Osinbajo commended Indorama for keying into the Presidential Fertilizer initiative which President Buhari launched last year to make fertilizers cheaper nationwide.

“At the end of last year, the President launched a Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, to ensure the availability of cheaper fertilizer to our farmers, to support what we’re doing in agriculture, in the production of rice and wheat and other staples.

“That Fertilizer Initiative, now well underway, has created significant economic opportunities for companies like Indorama Eleme Fertilizer & Chemicals Limited.

“I have been informed that Indorama will this year alone supply about 360,000 Metric Tons of Urea to Fertilizer blenders, which, in turn, will produce NPK fertilizer for the benefit of farmers across the country.

“This is the kind of economic progress we’re after, in which every unlocked opportunity proceeds to unlock several others, across multiple sectors of the economy.”

The acting President said that the Buhari administration will continue to support Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, which was privatised in 2006 by the Federal Government.

“We will continue to support Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited’s expansion ambitions. Our commitment to the privatisation programme is equally assured, and we will continue to do everything to support investors to maximise the potential of their assets,” he said.

Earlier in his address, the Chairman of Indorama Corporation, Mr Sri Prakash Lohia said that the plant which has capacity to produce 1.5 million metric tons of fertilizer per annum is the largest single-train Urea plant in the world.

The Acting President also presented a Certificate of Discharge to the Chairman of Indorama Group, Mr Lohia and the Managing Director, Mr Manish Mundra for successfully accomplishing the post purchase agreement entered into with the Bureau of Public Enterprises on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Following the 2006 handover, the BPE carried out routine monitoring on the enterprise to ensure that the core investor adhered to and implemented the post-acquisition plan it had laid out for the company.”

“Today is the culmination of that process of monitoring and oversight by the BPE. I am delighted that it is taking place on an inspiring and hopeful note, and that we are all here today celebrating a thriving and promising company. We should not take this state of affairs for granted,” he said.

The Plant has a production capacity of 4000 metric tons (MT) of nitrogenous fertilizers per day or 1.5 MT per annum. The world-scale plant has been built with an investment of USD 1.5 billion, a huge Foreign Direct Investment, funded by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and a Consortium of 15 European and African banks and Financial Institutions.

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, in his speech said that for Indorama to invest a whopping $1.5 billion in the state, it shows that the state is safe for investors and their investments. He called on other investors to emulate the footsteps of Indorama.

The fertilizer plant is well supported by Port Terminal at the nearby Onne Port Complex, and a Gas Pipeline of 83.5KM for gas supply.

The plant will bring about a green revolution in the agriculture sector not only in Nigeria but also in other parts of Africa and world at large.

Besides, making the fertilizer products to be available at affordable cost, the plant will boost crop yield to farmers and greatly help in minimizing the food grain deficit in Nigeria.

The plant has also generated lots of job opportunities contributing to the economic prosperity of Nigeria.

The construction of the plant commenced in April 2013 and completed in December 2015. The commissioning activities were concluded in March 2016 and the commercial production started in June 2016.

 

Iran Investors Target Uganda's Oil, Minerals

The Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation has expressed serious interest in investing in various projects in Uganda including the petroleum and mining sectors, a statement released by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum stated.

A three man delegation led by Manoochehr Khajel-Daloul, the Foundations deputy for construction recently paid a courtesy call to the Chamber. A number of investment opportunities in the extractives sectors were shared by Elly Karuhanga, the chairman of the Chamber.

"With Uganda targeting first oil in 2020, opportunities in the oil and gas sector are immense. Apart from the two critical projects, the refinery and pipeline, more support infrastructure like roads, railways and energy projects are in the offing," he said.

He added that other opportunities are in the logistics, foods and beverages, finance, security, human resource, waste management and crane services.

"At least up to $20bn is expected to be invested in Uganda to help the oil industry to take off smoothly.

Mostazafan Foundation is the second largest enterprise in Iran, second only to the National Oil Company. The Foundation is composed of eleven holdings controlling 150 companies which are spread across different sectors globally.

Karuhanga invited the Mostazafan Foundation to consider UCMP as a viable partner that would introduce them to sustainable and geniune openings in the oil and gas and mining sectors.

The Iranian delegation according to the statement was interested in knowing government's investment vision in the oil and mining sectors, the kind of incentives ono offer, licensing durations, revenue sharing options, among other issues.

Jeweller Completes First Export of Conflict-Free DRC Gold

Partnership Africa Canada and Fair Trade Jewellery Co. on Monday announced the first export of conflict-free and traceable artisanal gold from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Canada.

The milestone comes a month after Partnership Africa Canada announced the Just Gold project had implemented a system to trace legal and conflict-free artisanal gold in DRC, with a proven chain of custody from mine site to exporter.

Fair Trade Jewellery Co., a Toronto-based pioneer in ethical sourcing, sustainability and retail, imported 238 grams in three gold doré bars to Canada.

Within days, the Toronto team refined, alloyed and designed four responsibly-mined and conflict-free artisanal gold rings. Each ring has been engraved with a lot number, which traces it to a specific mine site in the DRC’s Ituri Province, where the gold originated.

“Sourcing from Congo was a new and exceptionally ambitious process, but one to which our organization is committed to and capable of achieving thanks to partners on the ground, like Partnership Africa Canada,” said Robin Gambhir, Fair Trade Jewellery Co. co-founder.

“After more than a decade of ensuring that our materials are responsibly-sourced, we’re delighted to add Just Gold to the gold options we currently offer our clients. Ensuring we source fully traceable materials directly from communities is a way to foster community development, and as a company—deepen our impact on many stakeholders,” added Gambhir.

Partnership Africa Canada began the Just Gold project as a pilot in 2015 in Ituri Province. The project creates incentives for artisanal gold miners to channel their product to legal exporters—and eventually responsible consumers—by offering fair and transparent pricing and by providing capacity-building, such as technical assistance to miners in return for legal sales. Miners are taught better exploitation techniques and are offered Just Gold project equipment. In return, gold they produce must be tracked and sold through legal channels.

The project has over 600 miners registered across six sites.

As the project moves out of its pilot phase with a proven chain of custody from mine site to the exporter in DRC, Fair Trade Jewellery Co.’s move to import the gold is an important next step. The jeweller also collaborates with its sister company, Toronto-based software startup Consensas, to trace the gold from export to consumer.

“This export from Bunia, DRC to Toronto proved that it is possible to bring Canadian and international consumers traced conflict-free Congolese artisanal gold. What is particularly exciting is that we have shown that every gram of gold can be accompanied by reliable quantitative and qualitative data about its provenance and the actors involved in its extraction, production and trade,” said Joanne Lebert, Partnership Africa Canada’s Executive Director.

“Saying that it is impossible to carry out due diligence on gold supply chains is no longer a valid argument for industry. We have proven otherwise,” said Lebert.

Challenges faced during this export included high export taxes, transportation restrictions, and burdensome paperwork, will be used by Partnership Africa Canada to call on the Congolese government to create more favourable conditions for legal trade and responsible investment.

Funding for the Just Gold project is provided to Partnership Africa Canada by Global Affairs Canada, with additional funding by USAID through the Capacity Building for Responsible Minerals Trade (CBRMT) project and International Organization for Migration.

PwC Report Points To Impressive Mining 2017

According to PwC’s Mine 2017 report, the world’s Top 40 miners recovered from a race to the bottom, with bolstered balance sheets and a return to profitability in 2016, giving them much-needed space to pause and draw breath.

As it looks to the future, the 14th edition of PwC’s industry series analysing financial performance and global trends, also outlines the new opportunities and hazards on the horizon – and the impact of intransigent or innovative activity.

Mine 2017 was released by PwC Africa today at the Junior Indaba conference held in Johannesburg.

Michal Kotzé, Energy, Utilities and Mining Industry Leader for PwC Africa, commented: “The narrative of the Top 40 in 2016 tends to read like a mine site safety mantra: Stop. Think … Act. The industry has moved out of danger but 2016 was not a year of significant action, and we now wait to see who will be bold and step out beyond the fluctuating market confidence.”

The report analysed 40 of the largest listed mining companies by market capitalisation. The financial information for 2016 covers the reporting periods 1 April 2015 to 31 December 2016, with each company’s results included for the 12-month financial reporting period that falls into this time frame.

The number of emerging companies included in the Top 40 has decreased by two and now totals 17. There were seven new entrants from the previous year, five of which had made appearances on previous rankings in either 2014 or 2015. First Quantum and Teck Resources re-emerged on the 2016 list after strengthening their financial positions.

The report recognises a return to profitability in 2016, with an aggregate Top-40 net profit of $20 billion; after an aggregate loss of $28 billion in 2015. The improved fortunes of the industry were then directed to strengthening balance sheets.

Overall the market capitalisation of the Top 40 increased in 2016 by 45 percent to $714 billion, approaching the 2014 level. This was mainly due to rising commodity prices.

Revenue from the Top 40 remained relatively flat – up just one percent from the previous year’s sum of $491 billion – despite a rebound in commodity prices, particularly coal and iron ore in the second half of the year.

Capex fell dramatically again, by a further 41 per cent, to a new record low of just $50 billion. After hitting a near-record in 2015, impairment charges tumbled last year to a less-alarming $19 billion.

Debt repayments totaled $93 billion, up from $73 billion a year earlier, with most of the debt issued to refinance, rather than fund acquisitions or mine development.

Kotzé added: “We see an improved gearing ratio of 41 per cent, down from the 2015 record of 49 per cent. But this is still well above the 10 year average of 29 per cent. Interestingly, we also found that around half the capex figure was invested in sustaining activities, so the growth capital portion was strikingly small compared with previous years.”

Rapidly rising commodity prices sparked renewed market optimism and improved credit ratings across the Top 40 firms. Valuations also climbed, especially for the traditional miners, with the trend continuing through the first quarter of 2017 even as commodity prices remained flat. But, valuations aside, there is little to suggest that the group made any substantial advances throughout the year.

For the fourth consecutive year, the industry reduced spending on exploration. $7.2 billion was invested in 2016, barely one-third of the record $21.5 billion allocated in 2012, with the funds cautiously targeted at less risky, later stage assets, typically located in politically stable countries.

Museveni Orders Copper Miners At Kilembe

President Yoweri Museveni’s preference for exporting refined minerals was on Tuesday reechoed in his State of the Nation Address when he said that Kilembe mines must produce 99.9% pure cathode copper rather than the 94% pure blister copper because the former can directly be used in the country’s cables industry.

The President also expressed his detest for importing copper ingots and export of raw minerals in general. “That was the case in the 1960s when we were producing and smelting copper but not to the final degree.”

“The Gold Refinery recently commissioned at Entebbe is a good example because the gold produced there is pure enough to be used in coins, jewellery, etc., directly.  The steel from Sukulu (Tororo) will straight away go into the dams, the high-rise buildings, the railway, etc.”

The President had in the previous year’s banned the export of raw minerals because the country lost a lot of value. Stakeholders in the mining sector lobbied and the ban was lifted in 2016. The mining sector is yet to fulfill its potential as much attention is given to newly discovered oil and gas. Further exploration is yet to be done in many of the country.

Geodata Gap Hindering Natural Resources Boom

Experts in Africa’s natural resource extraction business have decried the lack of geodata as one setback curtailing policy formulation and investment deployment despite availability of evidence that the continent is home to numerous wealth minerals. 

Therefore stakeholders from across Africa in order to examine innovative ways within which geodata (geoscientific data) can be generated, managed and used to contribute to social and economic structural transformation, wealth creation, and poverty reduction recently met on Friday, March 24, 2017 at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda.

The two-day workshop was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) under the theme: “A New Beginning: A collaborative partnering approach towards African Geodata”.

“While Africa has always been endowed with rich natural resources, the continent has not fully benefited from them due to an assortment of factors. One of the major holdbacks is the limited availability of geodata to guide policy and investment,” noted Hon Richard Kaijuka, the Vice President of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

Frank Mugyenyi, Senior Industry Advisor for the Department of Trade and Industry at the AUC, explained that making geodata readily available and accessible to government, industry and other stakeholders not only enables effective decision-making but helps create more value and generate more revenues, along the minerals’ value chain.

“According to the Africa Mining Vision, the Africa Union Commission recognizes that geodata provides a foundation to facilitate inclusive and sustainable economic growth by stimulating industrial and inward investment”, he emphasized.

He however, pointed out that exploration is a complex, risky and highly costly venture that requires a multi-stakeholder collaboration and coordination, hence the need to build confidence and enhance trust between the public and private sector in order to attract investment.

The workshop theme was guided by the aspirations of the Agenda 2063, the principles of the Africa Mining Vision and within the framework of Africa Minerals Governance Framework.

The workshop attracted key stakeholders from across Africa in order to examine innovative ways within which geodata (geoscientific data) can be generated, managed and used to contribute to social and economic structural transformation, wealth creation, and poverty reduction.

The geodata gap has influenced African Union Commission to initiate this geodata compiling effort. The Africa Mining Vision (AMV) which is a flagship of the Agenda 2063 recognizes resources’ geodata as an imperative for countries to strengthen their positions when negotiating complex agreements in extractives, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, infrastructure and tourism sector.

Studies have shown that, with geodata, returns on investments in exploration in Africa could result in a multiplier effect of 1:20. This means that for every investment of $1 in exploration, the country will generate $20 in returns across the broader economy.

The workshop tried to find concrete solutions to Africa’s geodata shortfalls and drew expert participants from member states and institutions across Africa, Britain and Canada.

Discussions were centered on: Data requirements, Data Management and Technology Innovation, a business case for a public-spirited partnership (PPP) Model and Capacity Building.

The key outcome of the workshop was an agreement on a regional pilot project for the Eastern African region with the portal to be hosted by Uganda. The pilot project which will be under the auspices of AUC will be conducted in a collaborative partnership between the British Geological Survey (BGS), Geosoft of Canada with the Uganda Geological Survey and the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

This will be based on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Business Model for generating, management and ownership of geodata by participating countries and it's expected to be piloted in other African countries.

Experts in Africa’s natural resource extraction business have decried the lack of geodata as one setback curtailing policy formulation and investment deployment despite availability of evidence that the continent is home to numerous wealth minerals. 

Therefore stakeholders from across Africa in order to examine innovative ways within which geodata (geoscientific data) can be generated, managed and used to contribute to social and economic structural transformation, wealth creation, and poverty reduction recently met on Friday, March 24, 2017 at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda.

The two-day workshop was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) under the theme: “A New Beginning: A collaborative partnering approach towards African Geodata”.

“While Africa has always been endowed with rich natural resources, the continent has not fully benefited from them due to an assortment of factors. One of the major holdbacks is the limited availability of geodata to guide policy and investment,” noted Hon Richard Kaijuka, the Vice President of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

Frank Mugyenyi, Senior Industry Advisor for the Department of Trade and Industry at the AUC, explained that making geodata readily available and accessible to government, industry and other stakeholders not only enables effective decision-making but helps create more value and generate more revenues, along the minerals’ value chain.

“According to the Africa Mining Vision, the Africa Union Commission recognizes that geodata provides a foundation to facilitate inclusive and sustainable economic growth by stimulating industrial and inward investment”, he emphasized.

He however, pointed out that exploration is a complex, risky and highly costly venture that requires a multi-stakeholder collaboration and coordination, hence the need to build confidence and enhance trust between the public and private sector in order to attract investment.

The workshop theme was guided by the aspirations of the Agenda 2063, the principles of the Africa Mining Vision and within the framework of Africa Minerals Governance Framework.

The workshop attracted key stakeholders from across Africa in order to examine innovative ways within which geodata (geoscientific data) can be generated, managed and used to contribute to social and economic structural transformation, wealth creation, and poverty reduction.

The geodata gap has influenced African Union Commission to initiate this geodata compiling effort. The Africa Mining Vision (AMV) which is a flagship of the Agenda 2063 recognizes resources’ geodata as an imperative for countries to strengthen their positions when negotiating complex agreements in extractives, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, infrastructure and tourism sector.

Studies have shown that, with geodata, returns on investments in exploration in Africa could result in a multiplier effect of 1:20. This means that for every investment of $1 in exploration, the country will generate $20 in returns across the broader economy.

The workshop tried to find concrete solutions to Africa’s geodata shortfalls and drew expert participants from member states and institutions across Africa, Britain and Canada.

Discussions were centered on: Data requirements, Data Management and Technology Innovation, a business case for a public-spirited partnership (PPP) Model and Capacity Building.

The key outcome of the workshop was an agreement on a regional pilot project for the Eastern African region with the portal to be hosted by Uganda. The pilot project which will be under the auspices of AUC will be conducted in a collaborative partnership between the British Geological Survey (BGS), Geosoft of Canada with the Uganda Geological Survey and the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

This will be based on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Business Model for generating, management and ownership of geodata by participating countries and it's expected to be piloted in other African countries.

Kilembe Mines In Fresh Row With Toro Kingdom

Individuals claiming to be from Toro Kingdom in a fresh commercial court lawsuit are demanding an investigation into the process that saw Kilembe Copper Mines in Kasese, western Uganda, land into the hands of Chinese investors.

According to documents filed in court, the acquisition of Kilembe Copper Mines now going by the name of Tibet Hima Mining Company was done illegally. These individuals now want court to pronounce the transaction null and void.

Gilbert Mugokya Atwooki and Franklin Jocelyn Kato claim to be descendants of the late Sir George David Michael Kamurasi Rukidi 111, a former King of Toro kingdom who died in 1965. They say Rukidi 111 owned 380 shares in Kilembe Mines at the time of his death.

The two claim to be the legally appointed administrators of the estate of the departed king which authority was passed on to them in 2006. Kasese were Kilembe Copper Mines is located used to be part of Toro kingdom before Charles Wesley Mumbere broke away to form Rwenzururu kingdom.

 Mugokya and Kato claim that government gave away 370 of the deceased’s shares leaving his estate with only 10 shares. This, they say, was done without their knowledge. They are asking court to direct government and Kilembe Mines to give them dividends right from 1965.

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Uganda Gets Gold Refinery; The First In Sub Sahara Africa

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda has welcomed the establishment of a $15m gold refinery, African Gold Refinery, in Entebbe saying it will save the country millions of dollars it has been losing by exporting unprocessed gold. He added that Uganda will not only earn and save more money but will also create jobs for the youth.

“We have been losing a lot of money by exporting unprocessed gold. When you export unrefined gold, you will be losing about $800, 000 per tonne of gold. We are not only losing money but jobs too. We are exporting jobs,” President Museveni said shortly after officially opening African Gold Refinery. He welcomed the Belgium investors saying their investment is in line with the country’s economic transformation agenda. 

President Museveni officially opened African Gold Refinery in Entebbe

The Chief Executive Officer of African Gold Refinery Allain Goaetz said that they were convinced to come and set up the refinery in Uganda because of its peace and secure environment which is good for investment. African Gold Refinery which sits on 5.5 acres of land in Entebbe, a few meters away from the country’s only international airport, is bankrolled by investors from Belgium. It is the only refinery in Sub Sahara Africa.

Goetz said the biggest challenge in the gold business is smuggling which breeds bad competition and criminal elements like terrorism. He said gold will be gathered from across the East African region and neighboring regions. The refinery, which was established in 2014, has capacity to output 300kg of pure gold a week, and a tonne a month.

The first high-capacity gold refinery in Sub-Saharan Africa according to chairman African Gold Refinery, retired politician Richard Kaijuka, is expected to play a major role in Uganda’s growing mining industry.  Kaijuka said refining gold and other minerals in Uganda will guarantee more foreign exchange for the country. African Gold Refinery has the capacity to process raw gold to pure gold of 99.99%. 

President Museveni welcomed more investors into the mining sector

The energy minister Irene Muloni said government is focused on servicing the mining industry and aspires for value addition to all minerals in the country. “Refining minerals will expand the economy by expanding exports,” she said, adding that gold exports will surpass coffee as the nation’s leading exported commodity.

Last year, Kaijuka said Uganda recorded $300m worth of gold exports that was value added, which he says was not by accidents but planned and strategic investment. Kaijuka demanded for more mining incentives.

Apart from the refinery, the $15m investment also houses a Geochemical Laboratory for assaying any mineral samples from the Ugandan and regional mining industry with certified analysis. 

 

 

 

Karamoja Mines Full Of Empty Promises For Children Miners

The question of the increase of child labor in mining in Karamoja region has for long been kept in the background despite Uganda having in place the child Labor policy 2006 and the National Action Plan  for the elimination of Child Labor whichfocuses on operationalizing the policy. Ugandan government has gone a step ahead to ratify the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UN conventions pertaining to child labor and streamlined these in national legislation such as the Employment Act, the National Constitution and the Children’s Act. Despite this child laborin mining is currently on the rise across all regions in Uganda.

According to the recent report “No Golden Future” published by Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations in April 2016, the number of children gold miners was estimated between 10,000 to 15,000 across gold mines in Uganda in some of the rich mineral districts like Moroto,MubendeNamayingo,Buhwejuetc.

The International Labor Organization categorizes mining as hazardous work to children and defines it as worst form of child labor.In Karamoja one visit at a gold or marble mining site you will be amazed by the number of children at any one mining site involved in mining activities from digging tunnels,shoveling the soil,panning to alittle boy of as young as 5 years fetching water.The question now remains what kind of sustainable future do we expect to create for these exploited children who have dropped out of school for just a little day pay?Its clear that child labor will have devastating effects on Karamoja’s development if quick measures are not put forward to restrain it.

 

Philloh  Aryatwijukawho wrote this article

Food insecurity has been singled out as one of the leading causes of child labor and high school drop outs in Karamojadespite universal primary education (UPE).This food insecurity is further reflected in the recent August 2016 analysis report issued by Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) which indicates that 16 percent will be stressed [5, 958, 155] while 1 percent [390, 165] most of whom are from Karamoja sub-region will be faced with food crisis.

The food insecurity question again clearly stood out during the recent mapping on child labor in mining conducted by Ecological Christian Organization(ECO) in gold and marble rich Rupa and Katikekile Sub County in Moroto district. Children clearlyemphasized that they go to the mines to get money to buy food, pay school fees, scholastic materials and other needs since UPE comes with other additional costs.In the same regard the plight of the girl child is highly at risk because of the dangers eminent at the mining sites most of which are characterized by alcoholism thus increasing chances of early pregnancies,HIV/AIDs and rape and defilement.

Without question the government needs to holistically tackle child labor in Karamoja mining sector, actions on ensuring food security of families, provision of alternative livelihoods, enforcing legal provisions, raising awareness and providing comprehensive education support for children including meals without any additional costs is key. In addition there is need to ascertain the exact number and working conditions of children involved in mining in Uganda.

By Philloh  Aryatwijuka

Ecological Christian Organisation(ECO)

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