Uganda: Gold as a (Trans)National Treasure
Despite the potential of its known gold deposits, Uganda has no history of large-scale gold mining. Instead, the story of gold focuses largely on informal artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) and on the gold trade that extends through the region. Recent changing global trends in gold investment are stimulating the expansion of both refining and industrial extraction. Here we explore how these trends become articulated in the Ugandan context, with a focus on ASGM. Reflecting nationalistic discourse and new planning priorities, government today characterises gold as a “national treasure” and an engine for development transformation. To this end, and in line with initiatives promoted by multilateral agencies, it seeks to encourage the industrial sector coupled with the formalisation of small-scale gold mining. These formalisation dynamics are embedded within a context in which a semi-authoritarian regime privileges a (trans)national elite whose interests in gold extend into mining and into (trans)national trade and refining. Against this background, we echo a familiar story where emphasis is placed on investment in industrial mining and where institutional and regulatory capacity is weak, namely that formalisation privileges some gold miners while reinforcing inequalities, undermining potential for equity and discounting the value of the wider sector for people’s livelihoods.
KeywordsUganda Artisanal and small-scale gold mining Formalisation Inequality
Three grants have permitted the authors to contribute to this chapter: (i) GCRF Network for Interdisciplinary Partnership on Mineral Sector Development, Social Equity and Inclusion in Africa (Ref: 100165); (ii) GOLD MATTERS (ref: 462.17.201) financed by the Belmont Forum and NORFACE Joint Research Programme on Transformations to Sustainability, which is co-funded by DLR/BMBF, ESRC, FAPESP, ISC, NWO, VR, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020; (iii) VLIR-UOS (ref: UG2018TEA477A101).
- Africa Centre for Energy and Mineral Policy (ACEMP). (n.d.). Understanding artisanal and small-scale mining operations in Uganda: A mapping study report. ACEMP.Google Scholar
- Barreto, M. L., Schein, P., Hinton, J., & Hruschka, F. (2018). Economic contributions of ASM in Uganda: Gold and clay. UKAID/PACT/ARM.Google Scholar
- Blore, S. (2015). Contraband gold in the great lakes region: In-region cross-border gold flows versus out-region smuggling. PAC/BGR/GCDR.Google Scholar
- Buss, D., Rutherford, B., Hinton, J., Stewart, J., Lebert, J. Côté, G. E., et al. (2017). Gender and artisanal and small-scale mining in Central and East Africa: Barriers and benefits (IISD, GrOW Working Paper Series GWP-2017-02).Google Scholar
- Crawford, A., Disney, K., & Harris, M. (2015). Uganda: Assessment of implementation readiness. IISD.Google Scholar
- Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM). (2015/2016). Annual Performance Report.Google Scholar
- Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM). (2016/2017). Annual Performance Report.Google Scholar
- Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM). (2017/2018). Annual Performance Report. http://dgsm.go.ug/home. Accessed 22 March 2020.
- Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM). (not documented [n.d.]). Concessions and Mineral Occurrences in Uganda.Google Scholar
- Economist Intelligence Unit (EIA). (2019). Gold Blush: How can Uganda export so much more gold than it mines? The Economist. Retrieved 25 May 2019 from https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2019/05/23/how-can-uganda-export-so-much-more-gold-than-it-mines.
- Global Witness. (2017). Undermined. Global Witness.Google Scholar
- Hickey, S., & Izama, A. (2017). The politics of governing oil in Uganda: Going against the grain? African Affairs, 116(463), 163–185.Google Scholar
- Houdet, J., Muloopa, H., Ochieng, C., Kutegaka, S., & Nakangu, B. (2014). Cost benefit analysis of the mining sector in Karamoja. Uganda: IUCN.Google Scholar
- Job, A. L. (1967). Mining in Uganda. Uganda Journal, 31(1), 43–61.Google Scholar
- Luning, S. (2012). Processing promises of gold: A minefield of company - Community relations in Burkina Faso. Africa Today, 58(3), 22–39.Google Scholar
- Mayers, J., & Burungi, J. (2019). Chinese investment in Uganda: New impetus for sustainable development? IIED/ACODE.Google Scholar
- McCool, A. (2019). Uganda’s gold boom leaves small-scale miners behind. Retrieved 19 July 2019 from https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/uganda-gold-boom-leaves-small-scale-miners-190719030225658.html.
- Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development (MEMD). (2009). National Strategy for the Advancement of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) in Uganda. With assistance of Jennifer Hinton. Republic of Uganda. Entebbe (UG).Google Scholar
- Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD). (2018). Mining and mineral policy for Uganda.Google Scholar
- Mpagi, I., Ssamula, N. F., Ongode, B., Henderson, S., & Gimbo Robinah, H. (2017). Artisanal gold mining: Both a woman’s and a man’s world. A Uganda Case Study, Gender & Development, 25(3), 471–487.Google Scholar
- Mthembu-Salter, G. (2015). Baseline study four: Gold trading and export in Kampala. Uganda: OECD.Google Scholar
- Muheki, S., & Geenen, S. (2018). Women in (and out of) artisanal mining: Opposing policy and women’s lived experiences in Lujinji B and Wakayiba Mines, Mubende, Uganda (DP2018.02 IDP). University of Antwerp.Google Scholar
- Muhumuza, R. (2015). Africa’s deadwood: The gold rush is on in Uganda. Associated Press. Retrieved 29 September 2019 from https://www.businessinsider.com/ap-africas-deadwood-the-gold-rush-is-on-in-uganda-2015-9?r=US&IR=T.
- Mujaju, A. B. (1986). The gold allegations parliamentary motion in 1966 in Uganda: An interpretation. Transnational Journal of History, 15, 30–53.Google Scholar
- National Planning Authority (NPA). (2013). Uganda vision 2040. Uganda: NPA.Google Scholar
- Nnabbaale, J. (2018). Uganda: President Musevani orders AUC mining company to relinquish 30 percent of Mubende gold mines to ASMs. http://allafrica.com/stories/201806150217. Accessed 22 March 2020.
- Nunis, V. (2017). Uganda gold rush stopped by authorities. Retrieved 29 September 2019 from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40863148.
- Odyek, J. (2018). Busia modern gold mining project. New Vision. Retrieved 29 September 2019 from https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1487825/busia-modern-gold-mining-project.
- Oil in Uganda (OIU). (2017). Uganda: Govt. orders eviction of artisanal gold miners to pave way for large scale investors. Retrieved 29 September 2019 from https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/uganda-govt-orders-eviction-of-artisanal-gold-miners-to-pave-way-for-big-investors.
- Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). (2019, March 15). President Maduro Linked to Ugandan Gold Probe. Retrieved 3 July 2019 from https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/9381-maduro-linked-to-ugandan-gold-probe.
- Pike, W. (2019). Combatants: A memoir of the Bush War and the press in Uganda. Independent Publication. ISBN: 978-1-79-802100-2.Google Scholar
- Schipper, I., de Haan, E., & Turyahikayo, S. (2016). No Golden Future: Use of child labour in gold mining in Uganda. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO). ISBN: 978-94-6207-099-8.Google Scholar
- Scurfield, T. (2018). The fiscal regime for Uganda’s mining sector: A need for reform? NRGI.Google Scholar
- Semakula, J. (2018). Museveni orders foreign gold miners out of Mubende. New Vision. Retrieved 3 July 2019 from https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1489675/museveni-foreign-gold-miners-mubende.
- Siviour, G. R. (1969). Kilembe copper mines—Uganda’s most important mineral deposit. Geography, 54(1), 88–92.Google Scholar
- Ssekika, E. (2019, February 25). Uganda: Evicted gold miners in Mubende acquire licences, set to return to the mines. Retrieved 21 June 2019 from https://allafrica.com/stories/201902250567.html.
- The Sentry. (2018). The golden laundromat: The conflict gold trade from Eastern Congo to the United States and Europe. Retrieved 29 September 2019 from https://thesentry.org/reports/the-golden-laundromat/.
- Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UB). (2015). Key Economic Indicators 96th Issue: Quarter Two.Google Scholar
- Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UB). (2018). Key Economic Indicators 112th Issue: Quarter Two.Google Scholar
- United Nations (UN). (2002). Letter dated 15 October 2002 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- United Nations (UN). (2014, January 23). Final report, UN group of experts on DRC, S/2014/41. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- United Nations (UN). (2018). Letter dated 18 December 2018 from the group of experts on the DRC addressed to the President of the Security Council. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). (2012). Analysis of formalisation approaches: Uganda case study. UNEP.Google Scholar