Over 500 casual labourers at Nyamuliro Wolfram Mines in Kaara parish, Muko Sub County Rubanda district on Friday staged a demonstration protesting the closure of KI3R Minerals International Limited.
KI3R Minerals International Limited which took over the mines from Krone Uganda Limited in 2016, closed its operations two weeks ago.
KI3R Minerals International Limited has been employing 2200 workers per day and buying raw wolfram from miners at shillings 12,000 per kilogram.
However, the closure of the 185-acre mines has left casual labourers stranded. On Friday, under their umbrella, Nyamuriro Wolfram Workers Association held a meeting and resolved to carry out a peaceful demonstration.
They held placards bearing words like “President Museveni help us, No work no food and no school fees among others”.
Led by their Chairperson Danson Tukahabwa, Jackson Muteganda Turyatemba and Silvano Nanegura, casual labourers say that they were shocked when they were told not to return to work until further notice. He says that management of the company has not explained the reasons for closing the mines.
Garuga Byamukama, John Bosco Ahimbisibwe and Aggrey Kamara say that the abrupt closure has forced them to leave over five tons of raw wolfram unmeasured. They say that they haven’t had issues with the company about payment.
Lawrence Kakuru, Bugunga village LC1 chairman and Umaro Abdul Byomuhangi said that the closure of the mines is a big setback to the community because it is the main source of income.
After the meeting, casual labourers resolved to storm Rubanda district headquarters to demand an explanation from leaders. However, they were blocked by heavily armed anti-riot police under the command of Tai Mahnfuzi Ramadhan, Rubanda district police commander.
Pius Karanzi, Public Relations Officer, KI3R Minerals International Limited says that the company decided to halt its operations after President Yoweri Museveni’s ordered a halt of exporting raw minerals.
Karanzi says that although they export processed minerals, their company is among those affected across the country