The company acquired two location licenses for dimension stones in Rupa Sub County, Moroto district in 2015. But it has not been on the site for more than eight months.
This is the third mining company to vanish from Rupa Sub County, Moroto district an area endowed with various mineral deposits. They include Gold and luxurious marble stones, among other deposits.
The first company was Jan Mangal Uganda Ltd, a subsidiary of an Indian jewelry company, which ceased operations, one year after acquiring a mining lease for Gold. It was earlier reported that Jan Mangal had ventured into excavation of minerals without an exploration license and did not have any contact with the local government or local community.
Early this year, DAO Marble Africa limited, a subsidiary of a Saudi and Kuwaiti construction firm also followed suit, ending its operations in Rata village, on the border of Rupa and Katikekile sub-counties in Moroto district where it had been operating since 2013.
Hafiph Mwenyi, an employee of Mechanized Agro Uganda Limited, the latest company to abandon the mineral rich sites is Rupa, says he last saw the top management in August last year. He adds that all the workers have been left stranded at the site and no one is explaining why the company is not working.
Gerald Eneku, the inspector mines in Karamoja from the energy ministry confirmed the disappearance of another investor from the site.
“What I know is that they have stopped production although I have not had any communication from them but I hope they will communicate to the department soon,” Eneku said.
Although the cause of the trend is still not clear, the companies faced hurdles over the years after failing to get the consent of community members before exploration, sparking tensions over land ownership, employment, and water within the community. Residents in the concession areas have consistently complained of lack of consultation and access to information from both the companies and local government officials.
Rupa Sub County Chairperson Apollo Manjori and his Senior Assistant Secretary Godfrey Lotuk expressed shock at the development. They say no information has been availed to the Sub County except complaints from employees that are now frequenting the office over non-payment.
“I think there is a lesson to the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines on the kind of investors they send on the ground,” Manjori told Step FM in an interview.
Karamoja region has over 135 mining companies on the ground. Five have mining leases, ten location licenses and others exploration licenses as of April 2016 statistics.