The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has permitted Hima Cement to mine limestone in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a UNESCO designated reserve.
UWA’s decision followed wide consultations with various stakeholders, according to a press statement signed by Lillian Nsubuga, the public relations manager.
"UWA supports the initiatives being taken by Hima Cement to boost the production of cement in Uganda.
The board of trustees has authorised the executive director to sign a permit for Hima to mine limestone in the park," she said.
She urged Hima to prevent soil run-offs from getting into rivers and deposit waste generated outside the park.
Another mitigation measure Hima must implement is the restoration of the environment by ensuring that the top soil washed away is stored and managed so that it retains its biological and physical properties.
"UWA has carefully evaluated the working modalities of this project and is satisfied that the harnessing of this resource will contribute to the achievement of the Government’s prosperity-for-all programme," Nsubuga pointed out.
She added that Hima would contribute towards the conservation of wildlife by paying a fee to UWA. Environmental activists are opposed to mining activities in the park on grounds that this would scare away birds and animals.