For years, no one envisioned a mining boom in Karamoja sub-region, a region that is now popular for its vast mineral resources such as gold, marble, limestone, gypsum, yet grappling with poverty.
The continuous lack of regulations for the artisanal and small scale mining, (ASM), sector considering that it employs more women and children is a big factor. The price of gold continues to be low with continuous exploitation from middlemen.
Gold exports reached $340 million in 2016, according to official figures, up from $237,000 in 2014.
For mining communities to benefit, the government needs to empower communities on their mining rights and entitlements, formalize benefit agreements between host communities and mining companies and fastidiously address the issue of surface right.
Unregulated gold mining has been leading conflicts in the mining sector, smuggling of gold, child labour, human rights abuses, environmental and human health concerns.
The watchdog Global Witness recently criticised the Ugandan mining industry, describing it as "infested with corruption from bottom to top".