May 05 2015

Alan's Ugandan Diary - Part 2

Last month, Alan visited two of the mines in Uganda participating in the scheme to become Fairtrade certified for their gold. Here he gives us a snapshot of the mines, and how they are before their audit for Fairtrade, and the hope we have for their improvement.

Syanyoja Miners Alliance has 72 members. It is based in village of Syanyonja, Busitema sub county - Tribal name Bassamya.
Their production of gold is currently 100-200gms per month. They are currently selling for $25 per gram, which is $13 less than the LBMA (which at time of writing is about $38/gm) meaning they are losing out on up-to $2,600 per month.
The chairman is Pastor Simon Wandera who was not there when we visited. The local primary school is 1km away, and health care, 4km. Their water comes from a bore hole and it's not good, the children suffer badly from diarrhoea . They have no electricity and the average income is about $2 a day.

Busa United Smalescale Miners Association has 50 members. It is based in village of Tiira, Busa district. Their production of gold is 1.5kgs a month. Currently selling for $27 per gram, losing out on up to $16,500 per month.

Directors Peter and Alex are supported by committee. I met Peter and Joseline at the Fairtrade Africa meeting in Kenya last year. The mine has 15 women members. Schools and healthcare are similar to that at Syanyaja. The community has a good committee who want to spend premium on a new clean water system and then to develop a vocational school for the young people as government schooling ends at aged 16.

These mines have both received funding from Comic Relief to upgrade safety & operations in order to pass the Fairtrade audit. Once passed, they will have access to international markets as a Fairtrade gold product, meaning they are able to get a minimum of 95% of LBMA price for their gold, as well as a Fairtrade premium of $2 per gram to put towards improving their community situations.

Read Part 1 of Alan's Diary here.