Artisanal and small scale gold mining (ASGM) has become one of the main sectors employing a large number of people in many parts of the world especially in the developing countries. In Uganda, it is estimated that there are about 250,000 ASGMs in different mining districts all over the country. It has been found that the majority of ASGMS face several occupational health, safety and environmental hazards and use of dangerous chemicals including mercury in gold processing.
Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health (UNACOH) and Uganda National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) together with the Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development (MGLSD) have made attempts to address this problem. This was through the Mercury Free Gold Mining Project – New Horizons. This project aimed at promoting healthy and safe and environmentally friendly practices among artisanal small scale gold miners through the adoption of Mercury-free methods. This was through training of selected miners and key stakeholders in the use of this method and advocacy for Mercury-free ASGM nationally in Uganda, regionally in Africa and internationally. This project was implemented over one year in the following districts; Namayingo, Mubende, Buhweju, Busia and Nakapipiriti.This project has been able to achieve the following;
- Established one demonstration site using the Gravity Concertation Method using borax as an alternative to using mercury.
- Successfully trained 53 small scale miners and 11 partner staff in the use of the Gravity Concertation Method using borax as an alternative to using mercury.
- Documented the use of mercury in ASGM sector through various studies (for more check in publications.
- Supported the setup of a National Alliance for stopping the use of mercury in ASGM.
- Participated in initiatives promoting the implementation of the Minamata Convention on mercury.
- Supported the formation of Small Scale Gold Miners organisation