By Fred Turyakira
A gold mine has been commissioned in Ibanda district.Works and transport state minister Eng. John Byabagambi switched on the drilling rig to start mining work at Kitaka Gold Mine in Kichuzi sub-county after Simba Mining Company procured a prospecting license covering 40sqkms to mine gold around Kasyoha-kitomi Forest Reserve.
Simba is jointly mining the area with two Chinese companies, China Red Apple and Tian Tang Group.
Byabagambi hailed Simba chairman Patrick Bitature for teaming up with the Chinese to resurrect modern mining, which was abandoned by Europeans due to political instability.
“I am happy the Chinese are involving locals by employing over 100 residents from Ibanda and neighbouring Kamwenge district in the mining business. This area has practiced gold mining since the 1960s, but was abandoned by whites after outbreak of war in the country,” Byabagambi said.
He said investing in the mining sector is the way to go because the Government borrowed a lot of money to map mining locations and many gold deposits were discovered.
The geophysical survey confirmed the presence of gold in Ibanda, Bushenyi, Mubende, Buhweju, Hoima, Rukungiri, Kisoro, Kabale, Kibaale and Kabarole in western Uganda. Kitgum, Jinja, Karamoja and Busia districts were also found to have gold.
Byabagambi noted that the survey also showed that Uganda is endowed with other minerals such as copper, uranium, cobalt, limestone and phosphate.
He urged local miners to exploit the opportunity and own the mines to develop their areas. Bitature said it is a dream come true for his company to move from elementary to modern mining.
“Without the right technology, you cannot do meaningful mining. This will boost the investment and development both in this area and the country because over 90% of staff are locals and the Government will also get its royalties,” he noted.
Bitature said the company will construct three schools and a fully-fledged health centre to benefit villages of Irimya, Kitaka and Kanywabogo around the mining site.
Bitature also handed over 200 mattresses and books to the locals.
He appealed the Government to put up gold laboratories in the region to save miners from taking samples to South Africa and China for testing.