1 March 2018

Uganda: Parliament Summons Top Lake Victoria Sand Miners

Parliament's committee on natural resources has summoned 13 companies which are mining sand in and around Lake Victoria Basin.

The summons are similar to those issued in 2016 where Parliament after interfacing with some miners and touring Lwera on Masaka-Kampala highway, the epic centre of sand mining activities then, temporarily halted sand mining activities after the committee learnt of gross violation of mining terms and conditions issued by National Environment Management Authority to miners.

According to a notice issued on Wednesday, the 13 companies are supposed to appear on March 6 without fail.

"Please attend without fail and bring along with you all the documents relating to your activities in sand mining," a letter signed by committee chairperson, Alex Byarugaba reads in part.

Sand mining especially in Lake Victoria has been a controversial issue with conservationists warning that any dredging or mining the shores of the East Africa shared resource will disrupt the fish breeding grounds. Fishing is a source of livelihood for millions of people across the region. However, proponents of sand mining have consistently said that they need lake sand for industrial and commercial use.

Last month, President Museveni's young brother, Gen Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh (also the coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation), vowed to continue backing sand mining to meet the demand in construction of the Standard Gauge Railway project which requires 12 million tonnes of lake sand and a glass factory which will take up 200,000 tonnes annually among other projects.

The summoned companies include; Lukaya Sand Miners in Kalungu District, Parkson Honkong, in Lwera Mpigi District, Zuo Yungyan, He She Duo, Only You limited, You Jing Shu, Mango Tree, which has for some time dredged Lake Victoria, Anthony Kimuli, Tesco Industries ltd, Aqua World, Seroma Company Ltd and Birungi Simpson.


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