Uganda: Artisanal tin miners protest low prices & delayed payments by Zanach Holdings; includes company's comments
Author: Perez Rumanzi, Daily Monitor (Uganda), Published on: 13 January 2020
"Tin miners protest harassment, falling prices and delayed payment"
At least 400 artisanal and small scale miners from the Mwerasandhu tin mines in Rwamwire and Ruhaama parishes in Ruhaama Ntungamo District on Friday went on strike protesting low prices and delayed payment. The protestors also accused mineral police deployed to enforce compliance in the mining fields leased to Zanack Holdings Mining Company, of perpetrating torture and harassment. “While we use our energy to mine and deploy everything we can to get minerals to sustain our families, we are subjected to torture by mineral police deployed here whenever they find us with tin on suspicion that we plan to sell it to other companies. As punishment, they subject us to inhumane treatment like lying on ground and face the sun the whole day or crawling on the knees for a good distance,” one of the miners, Mr Osbert Gumisisriza told Daily Monitor...
Mr Natamba Abel, a miner said despite the torture meted against them, they were last paid for mining in September 2019 but they are still forced to sell their products to the company even when they know they could get better prices outside the company dealers. “While we have also managed to accept the torture and harsh conditions, it is unfortunate that we have also been denied our payment. Since September, no one has been paid for the tin supplied to Zanack. The price of tin has since reduced from Shs32, 000 to Shs7, 000 per kilogramme. They say we must sell to them because they are the only legal buyers yet we can sell the minerals at 30,000 elsewhere,” Mr Natamba said.
Mr Musisi Katende who represented the company at Ruhaama Sub-county headquarters acknowledged the fall in prices associating it to closure of the Rwanda border point and general fall in minerals market prices in the country. He said the company is currently faced with several market challenges and therefore cannot afford to pay miners in time.