Uganda Urged to Invest in Mineral Data for Job Creation and Investments

Minister Nankabirwa (left) having a light moment with key mining sector players on the sidelines of the conference on Oct.31. PHOTO/COURTESY

Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | During the 12th Annual Mineral Wealth Conference (MWC2023) held in Kampala from October 30-31, stakeholders in Uganda’s mining sector emphasized the need for the government to invest significantly in determining the country’s mineral quantities. This investment is expected to attract more investments into the sector, resulting in job creation and related opportunities.

Organized by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) in partnership with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the conference centered on the theme “Creating a Viable and Feasible Roadmap for Uganda’s Mineral Sector to Contribute to Economic Transformation.”

Jan Sadek, the Ambassador of the European Union to Uganda, emphasized the importance of value addition in the mining sector, highlighting that promoting extractive industries should lead to job creation and economic growth. To achieve this, he stressed the need for Uganda to collect comprehensive data on the geological and chemical content of its mineral wealth, reducing speculation and attracting high-quality, long-term investments.

The European Union has recently supported the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) with over Shs3 billion to evaluate iron ore prospects in Southwestern Uganda. This support aims to produce reports, promote investment through feasibility studies, enhance human resource capabilities, and develop plans for iron ore exploration.

Uganda’s advanced exploration in rare earth elements (REEs) and graphite positions the country to play a substantial role in the global “Green Energy” revolution.

The Mining and Minerals Act 2022, which professionalizes and formalizes artisanal and small-scale miners, was highlighted at the conference. It also introduces state equity participation, allowing the State to acquire a non-dilutable ownership interest in large-scale or medium-scale mining licenses.

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The mining sector, contributing 1.6% to the national GDP in 2022, is expected to play an increasingly significant role in Uganda’s economic landscape as the country harnesses opportunities in the sector.

Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDPIII) includes a Mineral Development Programme with ambitious targets for increasing mineral exploitation and value addition. The development of various minerals is prioritized, and studies will continue to quantify all known minerals.

Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, stressed Uganda’s focus on value addition in the mining sector, with the goal of promoting employment, industrialization, and local content development. She praised the private sector’s contributions to the industry and highlighted various companies’ efforts in advancing the sector.

The 2023 Mineral Wealth Conference drew approximately 300 participants from Uganda and beyond.

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