Staff Protest Working Conditions at Nyamuriro Wolfram Mines

3281 Views Rubanda, Western Region, Uganda

In short
At least 800 people are employed as casual laborers in the mines that cover 175 hectares. However, the employees say that working in the mines without protective gear like gloves, overalls, helmets, gumboots and eye goggles exposes them to health risks.

Casual laborers at Nyamuriro Wolfram Mines in Muko Sub County, Rubanda district have started a protest against poor working conditions.

The mines were revived in December 2016 after a takeover from Krone Uganda Limited by KI3R Minerals Ltd, a United Kingdom based company. At least 800 people are employed as casual laborers in the mines that cover 175 hectares.

However, the employees say that working in the mines without protective gear like gloves, overalls, helmets, gumboots and eye goggles exposes them to health risks.  Andrew Batibuka, one of the workers employed in the mines for the last five months, wants the company to take a responsibility of providing them with safety equipment.
 
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John Karuma, another staff says that although some of the workers tried to arrange for protective gear on their own, a big number of them have failed because they are expensive and not easily accessible.
 
 
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Muko Sub County Chairperson Herbert Byaruhanga says that the mining should not only stop at providing protective gear but should also construct a health facility at the mining site to ease access to health services for staff who instead have to trek distances in search of services.

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Donat Kankonde, the General Manager of KI3R Minerals International Limited says that the company is in a process of providing all the workers at with free protective gear.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2006, employers must provide safety gear such as gloves, eye goggles and ear muffs among others. The act also stipulates that it is the obligation of the employer to teach and sensitize workers on the dangers of chemicals they encounter on the job and precautions to be undertaken.

 

About the author

Samuel Amanya
Samuel Amanya is the Kigezi Region URN bureau chief. Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu and Rukungiri districts fall under his docket. Samuel Amanya has been a Uganda Radio Network reporter since August 2016. Before becoming a URN staff reporter, Amanya had written for the network for several years as a freelancer.


Amanya was also a Voice of Kigezi reporter from 2011 to 2016.


A journalism graduate from African College of Commerce Kabale, Amanya values his independence. Amanya says URN is a home for his talent because it lets him explore his journalistic interests without limits.

Amanya is fascinated by the crime beat and some of his best stories have come out of that interest. Amanya says he aims to be all round beat reporter.