Kampala, Uganda — MININGREVIEW.COM — 01 April, 2008 – A strong environmental lobby has rejected the proposed plans to mine limestone in a section of the Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
The allAfrica.com news website quotes Frank Muramuzi – executive director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists – as saying: “The public and the government are being misled to believe that we are in support of mining in the park, but there are still so many unresolved issues.”
Two weeks ago, Uganda’s New Vision website published a story quoting environmentalists as backing the mining initiative, which is envisaged at the Dura quarry, but the association last week called a press conference at their offices here to refute the story.
Muramuzi was flanked by officials from the Wildlife Society and Abantu Trust who were reported to have visited Dura and approved the project. He said it was illegal to mine in the park because it contravened the wildlife policy and the Uganda Wildlife Act 2000.
He also expressed the opinion that the quarrying activities would have adverse environmental effects, citing the scaring of elephants and other animals that use part of the park at Dura as a migratory corridor to move between the Queen Elizabeth and Kibale National Parks.
According to Muramuzi, the anticipated economic gains from the mining had been exaggerated. “Many of the people to be employed there come from beyond Uganda, he claimed, and others are employed as casual labourers and are poorly paid.”
An official of the wildlife society, Dr. Chris Bakunetta, emphasised that tourism was one of the top revenue earners for the country, and therefore it did not make sense to eliminate wildlife, which is one of the main attractions.