Child Labour Taints Artisanal And Small Scale Gold Mining In The Districts Of Mubende And Moroto
John Lomuria is one of the many children working in the artisanal gold mining areas of Rupa Sub-county –Moroto district.
4 –year- old John Lomuria bends over a basin of water and soil trying to sluice gold from the ore using water .He is helping his 46 year old mother, Nakong Rita to mine gold .At four years old, Lomuria has never been to a classroom.
He spends up to 11 hours a day engaged in gold mining. Lomuria is not alone, close observation of the mines shows that there many other children working in Rupa’s artisanal gold mines.
“I tried to send him to school but he refused, he prefers to stay and help me in mining gold .I can’t stop him after all he is learning how to make money,” says his mother Nakong
Article 39 (2) of the Uganda’s constitution provides for the right to education. However, this is a myth to the children working in the gold mines. According to Rupa sub-county Chairperson-Apollo Dami, Majory Some children (periodically) attend primary school but many other children work in the mines throughout the year and some live on the mining sites.
Lomuria is also engaged in what the International Labour Organisation (ILO) describes as Child labour .Gold mining is arduous work for adults and not children due to the unsafe and unhealthy conditions especially in artisanal mines.
No measures have been taken to tackle child labour or to ban children from getting involved in the artisanal and small scale gold mining activities in the country. Uganda’s mining act of 2003 is also silent on the issue.
All these are reasons why the new mining law and policy should be expedited to allow for stronger government oversight over the sector and regulation of artisanal and small scale gold mining activities in the country .This will address issues of child labour in the artisanal and small scale mining activities.