Uganda: Artisanal gold miners exposed to toxic chemicals among other health hazards
"Health, Safety Takes Back Seat In Busoga Gold Rush"
With red dust all over his body...[Majidu Musisi]steps out of a 50-foot pit, to speak to Oil in Uganda on his mining journey...Musisi works with his wife, Nekesa Beatrice and together, they brave the pits and tunnels below the ground in search of the ever elusive gold rocks...In his search for gold, Musisi uses rudimentary tools like a hand-held pick axe, shovels, and hoes. Quickly, he rather adds that he knows that he needs protective gear like a helmet for his head and gloves, nose-masks and gumboots for his hands, nose and legs to protect him from getting into contact with mercury during washing and amalgamation process. “These protective gears are expensive to buy,” he says, adding that they prefer to use bare hands and purchasing gloves, gumboots and nose-masks will ‘economically’ take him back...
According to the World health Organization (WHO) exposure to mercury is the biggest cause of health hazards facing Small scale or artisanal gold miners. The UN organization says...children and women of child-bearing age are considered vulnerable populations because it says mercury can be passed from a mother to her unborn child. And yet at gold mines in Namayingo district, eastern Uganda, mercury is one of the vital possessions every miner must have. The liquid chemical is highly sought after as they apply it during the process to extract gold from dust dug ground from the gold rocks in the mines.