Tororo cement started extracting limestone in Kisiroi mining areas from 2002.

By Phoebe Masongole     

MOROTO: Artisanal miners from Mororto district have asked the Tororo cement limited company to increase the breaking and loading fee.

The miners from Katikekile Parish, Tapac Sub County in Moroto district want Tororo cement limited to increase 50% on the current breaking and loading fee.

Tororo cement started extracting limestone in Kisiroi mining areas from 2002.

In 2020 the local government (Tapac sub county) came up with breaking and loading fees bylaw under section 23 (1) and 39 of the local government Act Cap 243

The purpose of the bylaw is to provide for formalization of breaking and loading fees to be paid to the artisanal miners for breaking limestone and loading them into the trucks.

Artisanal miners want the company to  pay breaking fee Shs250, 000, 350, 000 , Shs 500, 000 and loading fees shs100, 000, shs150,000, Shs200, 000 for trailers, medium truck and ‘Mangulu kumi’ (10 tyres) respectively.

Sarah Akello, artisanal miner in Tapac Sub County said there is a lot of exploitation in the mining area

“We mine in rudimentary manner where we have to break the stones burn and pack them, what we get out of this stones is not something that can sustain our families” she said

She added; “we get only hand to mouth, we can’t pay school fees like big levels of education, meet our medical servces”

“The company is not protecting the rights of the miners, there are many injuries because miners are not protected” she adds

Beatrice Adeke, another miner said they are working in a manual way.

“Not all people stone are being extracted by excavators, we manually do the work as either families and the return is poor” he said

Caesar Akol, Moroto district council speaker and a resident of Tepeth Sub County said Tororo cement should adopt the proposed bylaw.

“We know that the mining acts and other related laws provide management but there are a lot of gaps especially on artisanal miners”

“We don’t have key laws that manage their affairs and so it’s on that background that Sub County came up with the bylaw and consultation is key unfortunately Tororo cement is not willing to be consulted and share their thoughts on this” he said

Albert Lokoru, the area Member of Parliament for Tepech county in Moroto district said they need to attain a win-win in terms of benefits arising from minerals that are found in the region.

“To our dismay and disappointment that the Executive director has not honored the bylaw that has been approved by the Moroto local government,’’ he said.

He added; “This is the revenue to enhance development in the region but according g to t response from Tororo cement it appears that they are not supportive of the development in Karamonja”

“We have not got a sufficient response to this effect and we will engage them using any means possible” he said

Lokoru further said the mining companies are exploiting and cheating the people of Karamonja.

“However as leaders we cannot entertain this kind of working environment, we have agreed as leaders to go and implement the law after all it has been approved by the sub county and district leaders” he said.

Gerad Eneku, the inspector of mines in Karamoja said transporters should stop transporting minerals at night.

“Tororo cement is suffocated in the revenues, royalty and there is need to consult the side of transporters to contribute towards the loading revenue” he said

Elijah Lomiat, Opinion Elder said Tororo should look at cementing friendship with Tepeth communities

“Tororo cement is a long-time friend of Tepeth community which has been around 20 years however is a friend who cheats people who are less empowered, inadequate information and lack of knowledge on their rights”

David Omido, the logistics consultant Tororo cement limited said the suggested prices in the bylaw be reviewed.

“Tororo cement don’t load anything below 20 tonnes and limestone is the biggest function in clinker manufacturing” he said

He added “Therefore to increase the price of breaking and loading will have a negative impact on the production and price of cement will be affected”

Brij Gagrani, Executive Director Tororo cement limited said this increment and the bylaw is illegal

“We don’t know if this bylaw is illegal and in line with the mining act to avoid double taxation because we are paying the mining license” he said

“We are not aware of people excavating manually besides the act is more or less labour oriented and we should consult with labour offices whether it’s right for a sub county to implement a labour act and we are not ready to pay any increment fee”

Andrew Byaruhanga, Executive director Resource Rights Africa said the companies should learn to give back to the communities

“Karamoja region still lags behind in social economic development since colonial and post conical period despite being a source of minerals and coming of investors” he said

He said “Communities have been yearning to see mining companies give back to them in terms of social services instead companies are exploiting and underpaying them”

“In order to solve this proposed bylaw should be implemented to help the communities and sub county develop” he said.

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