In Summary

Investment. The estimate, according to the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum will be as a result of a public-private partnership that is being considered.

Kampala- Uganda is yet to attract big players into the exploration of minerals. But with commodity prices falling globally, the country is a weaker choice for investment.

A map by the Directorate Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) indicates that Uganda has several minerals, but there has also been limited investment in determining the commercial quantities in the ground.

In order to drive exploration investment in Uganda, the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) will today launch the Uganda Mineral Exploration Initiative (UMEXI), a Public Private Partnership (PPP) supported by the African Union Commission, at the 5th mineral wealth conference.

According to Mr Richard Kaijuka, the UCMP vice president, a PPP has the potential of attracting between $50m (Shs168b) and $100m (Shs340b).

“In order to attract responsible investments, it is important that a country is knowledgeable of its mineral wealth. This can be achieved through a comprehensive country exploration programme that involves both the private and public sector investments,” Mr Kaijuka said.

Exploration of minerals kick-starts a decision on whether minerals are commercially viable and are able to attract big investors to carry out production.

Key minerals
The largest mining activities in Uganda are mostly around limestone, a key ingredient in the manufacturing of cement.

Copper production is also expected to resume. On a smaller scale, Uganda mines iron ore, tungsten and gold, among others.

“It will be based on critical success experiences of countries such as Brazil and Australia,” Mr Kaijuka said.

The government is also currently involved in reviewing the mining laws and policy in Uganda.
One of the considerations to deal with speculators that have riddled the sector is a proposal to remove the section of first-come-first-serve in the issuance of licences.

The proposal will allow the DGSM to assess the capacity of the applicants for the various licences.

The sector also still has a challenge of artisanal mining where in places such as Mubende, the investor claims no exploration work can t ake place with the existence of illegal miners.

mmuhumuza@ug.nationmedia.com