M2 Cobalt, Jervois Mining Coming Hard On Uganda

It is going to be a busy year for M2 Cobalt Corp in Uganda after the Canadian mining firm said it will approximately drill 6,000 metres at its various Ugandan properties. M2 Cobalt chief executive officer Mr. Simon Clarke said the company was pleased to be launching the next phase of its exploration campaign. The firm completed around 2,000 metres of diamond drilling before Christmas last year - mainly at priority targets at its Kilembe-area properties.

It said this year's program will include diamond and reverse circulation (RC) drilling and plans to launch additional ground geophysics (magnetics and Induced Polarization (IP) and rock grab and soil sampling within existing and recently acquired exploration licenses.

"We have a very large asset base with numerous large-scale targets and significant potential for new discoveries," said Mr. Simon Clarke, CEO of M2 Cobalt.  Adding that "The ability to leverage what we have learned to date into this expanded phase of drilling strengthens our position significantly. We are also extremely pleased to be able to add the technical and financial resources of Jervois as we move through the merger process and combine operations."

M2 Cobalt also revealed that its merger with Jervois Mining Ltd was progressing well after receiving support from shareholder. It said it expects a formal shareholder approval to be obtained via a vote in early to mid-May 2019. “We are also extremely pleased to be able to add the technical and financial resources of Jervois as we move through the merger process and combine operations.” said Mr. Clarke

As part of the process, M2 Cobalt said it had now satisfied all outstanding conditions for the drawdown of the US$3 million working capital facility from Jervois, which will be used to fund the continuation and expansion of the initial drill program and the next phase of exploration. The funds are set to be used for the continuation and expansion of its initial drill program and the next phase of exploration.

The drill program will expand work undertaken at the Waragi and Nile targets, with up to 3,000m of drilling planned to systematically test the large regional cobalt/copper geochemical anomaly discovered across the Buajagli licenses in southern Uganda during 2018.

Under the definitive agreement signed in January, the two companies will merge via an all-market transaction whereby each common share of M2 Cobalt will be exchanged for one common share of Jervois.

Jervois launched a friendly merger with the M2 Cobalt back in January, giving the company a “transformational” foothold in Uganda through the historical Kilembe copper-gold mine.

Meanwhile, M2 Cobalt and Jervois have annoucned that the newly combined company is merging with Idaho cobalt company eCobalt Solutions Inc. The newly formed company will have projects in Australia, East Africa and the US, including eCobalt’s Idaho Cobalt project, which boasts the highest combination of cobalt grade and scale in North America.

The combination will involve the acquisition of all of the issued and outstanding shares of eCobalt and will not impact the previously announced merger of M2 Cobalt and Jervois, the company said in a statement.

"We are fully supportive of Jervois undertaking a transaction with eCobalt, and look forward to securing eCobalt's high-grade Idaho Cobalt Project for the combined group,” said Mr. Clarke.

“The combination with eCobalt advances our combined goal of building the pre-eminent, mid-tier, multi-jurisdictional battery materials supplier and secures one of the highest quality cobalt deposits globally.”

Mineral Exploration, Production & Value Addition Key Focus In 2019

The Plan for Uganda participating in the Regional Certification Mechanism for Uganda has been developed for Uganda. The implementation of mineral certification mechanism is underway. This mechanism will enable Uganda trade its minerals at good prices.

President Yoweri Museveni has assented to a key law that will enable the certification of minerals dubbed as the conflict minerals. These are Tin, Tungsten, Tantalite and Gold (3Ts and G).

The presidential assent of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Bill (ICGLR Bill 2016) will enable Uganda participate in a regional certification mechanism to deal in the minerals. The Bill was passed by Parliament in May 2017 but has been waiting the ascent of Museveni.

A Regional Certification Mechanism (RCM) was developed in 2006 under the ICGLR to tackle the issue of conflict minerals. The RCM requires formalization of the artisanal and small scale miners to enable the tracking and certification of the minerals.

The Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR) particularly aims at breaking the link between mineral revenues and rebel financing.

In July 2010 the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was voted by the American Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

Section 1502 of the act requires companies to disclose whether any of the products manufactured or contracted to be manufactured by the company contains conflict minerals that originate in the Democratic Republic of Congo or any of the 10 adjoining countries including Uganda. It made it difficult to trade in minerals that were not certified to be conflict free.

International regulations require that the 3T and G minerals are certified as conflict free to ensure that proceeds from their sale are not used to fund conflicts and human rights violations.

As part of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, which was signed by eleven regional Heads of States in Nairobi on December 15th 2006, the Protocol on the Fight against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources outlines the actions that Member States have to take.

 The main objective of the protocol was to ensure that minerals leaving the region complied with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines.

OECD (Paris based organisation with membership of developed nations) guidelines provide measures to curb irresponsible sourcing of conflict minerals by consumers in the developed world.

GEOLOGICAL SURVEYS IN UGANDA

The country’s geochemical coverage still remains at 35% while geophysical surveys are at 80%. Eight (8) mineralized areas were discovered against an annual target of 3 and 6 potential Uranium resources targets against an annual target of two (2) in order to stimulate investment in the mining sector.

Government commenced on Uranium exploration in Ndale, Fort Portal and Rusekere volcanic fields (Fort Portal west uranium anomaly) and Rare Earth Elements (REE) exploration at Makutu-Buwaya radiometric anomaly in Eastern Uganda.

Three Hundred Sixty Seven (367) samples were collected and analyzed. Geological studies have confirmed an area of 160km2 in Kibito, Fortportal for further follow-up and detailed studies to establish the Uranium potential in the area.

NEW MINERAL DISCOVERIES

Thirty percent (30%) of the current mineral map of Karamoja has been updated by carrying out ground geological and geochemical surveys. New mineral targets of tourmaline, gold, wolfram, tin, columbite-tantalite, beryl, zinc, cobalt, nickel and chromium and potential of black sands that host heavy metals such as magnetite, ilmenite and rutile have been discovered from geological mapping and geochemical surveys done.

More minerals are anticipated to be discovered after the planned airborne surveys have been carried out in the region followed by carrying out geological mapping, geochemical surveys and ground geophysical surveys.

 MINERAL EXPLORATION

Government is making follow up on mineral targets for mining and industrial development. The projects are being promoted for both public and private partnership (PPP). The projects include those of: i) iron ore; ii) nickel-platinum group metals (PGMs); iii) nickel-copper-lead; and iv) Busia gold bearing zone.

 Sukulu Phosphate and Steel Project: M/S Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group Co. Ltd is to develop the Sukulu phosphate resource into phosphates, steel, glass, cement and brick products.

The company has so far constructed buildings to house staff and workers plus putting in place an administration block and a dining hall. The company has also carried out geotechnical site investigations and established the type of soils where the plant is to be set up.

Earthworks and grading of the site are now underway and pre-fabricated plant machinery for the first phase has arrived in the country. All plants, including the steel mill, are expected to be in operation by December 2019.

So far, over 150 skilled Ugandan workers have been employed, and the number is expected to rise to over 1,000 by December 2019 when the plant is fully operational.

 IRON ORE DISCOVERIES

A follow-up on targets that were identified by airborne geophysical surveys. The ground geological and geochemical mapping that were conducted resulted into new discoveries of iron ore resources in Nyakarambi, Kitunga, Kashambya Kitojo, Kobutare, Katagata in Rukiga  District. The study has confirmed the Iron Ore Resources in the Rutenga Magnetic anomaly.

Government stopped all illegal mining activities in Mubende District and a Mineral Protection Police Unit was put in place to curb any further illegal mining in the country.

In line with the new mineral policy and mining legislation, the Ministry in collaboration with the National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) will biometrically register all artisanal and small scale miners (ASMs) in the country.

MINING CADASTRE AND REGISTRY SYSTEM

The Sub-sector is upgrading its Mining Cadastre and Registry System (MCRS) to an e-government based mineral licensing system for a three-year period.

In preparation for the transition from a paper-based to an online system, the Subsector in collaboration with NITA-U is now hosting the cadaster system in the cloud, and is in the process of securing an MoU with URA to develop an online payment transaction portal.

 REVIEW OF THE MINING REGULATIONS, 2004

The Subsector is reviewing the Mining Regulations, 2004 to effect the transition to an online system. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (the implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region) Bill No.16 was assented. The ICGLR Act, 2017 is being implemented by the Ministry towards issuance of the first certificate for certified designated minerals from Uganda.

The Sub-sector has trained inspectors and developed inspection manual, inspection template, export procedure and is now developing regulations to enforce the Act. The Sub-sector monitored and inspected mining activities in the country to promote the application of environmentally friendly technologies and methods in mineral exploitation, and ensure adherence to health and safety regulations.

MINERAL RIGHTS (LICENCES)

A total of 716 Mineral Rights (licences) were issued to promote mining investment. The Ministry also provided extension services and carried out awareness campaigns targeting small-scale miners through their associations so as to legalize their operations.

Geo-scientific data management: The Sub-sector acquired and managed geo-scientific data for strategic minerals i.e. uranium, gold, base metals, iron ore and wolfram.

The Sub-sector monitored earthquakes using its installed Uganda seismic network to acquire data useful in monitoring of earthquake hazards. Geo-hazards investigation surveys for ground failures and landslides were conducted in Mt Elgon area.

MINERAL LABORATORIES

The Sub-sector is up-grading the mineral laboratories to become the main analytical and beneficiation centre. Equipment and consumables for the laboratories have been procured and maintenance carried out. The up-graded laboratory will provide a capacity to analyze materials for geological, hydrological and environmental studies.

Emulate Dangote’s Investment Drive, Says Former Ethiopian Prime Minister

Former Ethiopia Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn has described as exceptional and enormous the investment of the Dangote Group in Africa's oil refining sector and urged other private sector investors to take a cue from the group’s investment drive.

Speaking during the tour of Dangote Jetty, Fertiliser and Refinery Plant, Desalegn said the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has enormous influence in the sector and that his involvement in the general economic wellbeing of the whole of Africa is unquantifiable.

He therefore encouraged other investors to consider the strategic nature of investments made by the conglomerate and emulate them in order to enhance the value of the continent’s economy: "I think this is a lesson for other African investors to take risk and bring about big change. A mega project of this magnitude, actually needs dedication and commitment, as well as sacrifice."

He insisted that Africa needs massive investment like the Dangote Refinery for economic development.

According to him, investors in the continent must recognize that investment in essential sector would remain critical to sustainable economic growth. “I think this project is not only for Nigeria, but for the entire African countries”, he added.

Group Executive Director, Strategy, Portfolio Development & Capital Projects, Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, said the project would provide 135,000 retail outlets, 26,716 filling stations and 129 depots in Nigeria, while the 2,600 trucks for transport will create additional jobs.

Another invaluable area of interest the project will enhance is in the area of skill development and capacity building for Nigerian. Already, Mr. Edwin said training of second batch of Nigerian Engineers has started in Delhi India.

He said, “we are sending all engineers abroad in batches. They will engage in classroom training for one month and on the job training of one year. They will be working with real time experts in the industry every day.”

 Edwin disclosed that the company’s target is for a significant portion of Nigeria’s crude oil production to be refined domestically, rather than imported, thereby creating jobs within Nigeria, and bringing a halt to the current importation of refined petroleum product.

Edwin said the refinery is going to provide over 100,000 indirect employment through retail outlets. He said the refinery is designed to meet Euro V grade, which is the highest standard in the world, hence products can be exported to any part of the world.

“It will be well diversified and able to process Nigerian crude, African crude and crude from other parts of the world. In terms of evacuation routes, two crude oil single point mooring (SPM) buoys and three multi-product SPMs will be located within the Atlantic Ocean to transfer crude oil to a calling tanker.

Edwin said the company was also constructing the largest fertiliser plant in West Africa with the capacity to produce three million tonnes of urea per year.

Dangote Fertilizer Complex, consisting of Ammonia and Urea plants, is conceived to be one of the world's largest fertilizer plants with a total capacity of 3 Million Tonnes per Annum of Urea fertilizer. Therefore, the Dangote Fertilizer is positioned to bridge the gap between local demand and national capacity. Dangote Fertilizer Plants will produce Urea that will assist farmers boost their crop yields through easy access to fertilizer,” he added.

Liberia, Niron Metals Sign MoU To Export Zogota Iron Ore

The Government of  Liberia and Niron Metals Plc jointly announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), regarding the passage through Liberia of iron ore from the Zogota iron ore deposit in the Republic of Guinea . The MOU relates to the use of existing rail and port infrastructure in Liberia.

The signing of the MOU follows the joint vision of economic cooperation, expressed by the leaders of the republics of Guinea and Liberia, H.E. President Alpha Condé and H.E. President George Weah, at a meeting held in Dakar on the 2 April 2019.

The Government of Guinea has already given authorisation for Niron to export material from Zogota in compliance with the Mining Code of the Republic of Guinea 2013.

The Chairman of the Liberian National Investment Commission, Mr Molewuleh Gray said: “This agreement opens a new chapter and supports the development of a world-class mining and logistics project for the benefit of the people of the Mano River Union.  

“The Government will now initiate discussions with the railway and port concessionaire, relating to third-party access rights. Thereafter we anticipate accelerated tripartite discussions to commence”.

Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of Niron said: “This MOU is an important milestone in our plans to develop the Zogota project. We intend to complete our feasibility study within six months and continue to work with relevant stakeholders to bring Zogota rapidly into production for the benefit of all.”

The MOU signatories from the Republic of Liberia were Hon. Samuel A. Wlue Minister from the Ministry of Transport, Hon. Gesler E. Murray, Minister from the Ministry of Mines & Energy, Hon. Molewuleh B. Gray, Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Hon. Samuel D. Tweah, Minister from the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning with their signatures attested by Cllr. Frank Musa Dean Jr. the Minister of Justice/Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia.

Vantage Capital Exits Thebe Timrite

Vantage Capital, Africa's largest mezzanine debt fund manager, announced today that it has fully exited its investment in Thebe Timrite ("Timrite"), a leading black-controlled supplier of mining support products and services in South Africa.

 Vantage provided an R89m ($6,3m) mezzanine debt facility to fund the 100% acquisition of Timrite by Thebe Investment Corporation ("Thebe") and the Timrite management team in 2013, as well as to fund expansion capital expenditure. Thebe is one of South Africa's leading black-owned investment companies, managing assets of over R6 billion ($420m).

Mokgome Mogoba, Associate Partner at Vantage Capital, said, "the investment we made in Thebe Timrite demonstrates the support we provide to black-controlled businesses and our commitment to transformation in South Africa.

Furthermore, it highlights the faith that we have in the resilience of the South African mining sector and the employment opportunities it creates. This was the second time we had partnered with Thebe as we had previously supported Thebe's investment in Safripol, another successful investment."   

Luc Albinski, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, added, "Vantage was an active participant in many board discussions over the past six years at Timrite, helping to shape the growth strategies of the company during a difficult time in South Africa's mining sector.

It was a privilege to engage with Timrite management and Thebe as the company diversified its product range through world-class R&D, introducing new products into the market that have made our mines safer."

Nonhlanhla Mabusela, CEO of Thebe Timrite, said, "we are grateful to have partnered with Vantage Capital during both strong and turbulent times within the mining sector in recent years. Vantage's funding did indeed play a key role in facilitating black ownership in the underground roof support market, placing Timrite miles ahead of its peers in its transformation targets."

Sizwe Mncwango, CEO of Thebe said "We would like to express our deepest gratitude to Vantage Capital for the partnership and support afforded to Thebe in steering the company over the last 6 years. The exit by Vantage Capital allows Thebe to become a sole shareholder of Thebe Timrite and we are excited about the future of this business."

To date, Vantage Capital has successfully exited nine investments generating proceeds of R2.6bn ($190m) across its three generations of mezzanine debt funds and achieved an aggregate money multiple of 2.0x.

Dangote, Imouhkuede Launch Africa Business Coalition For Health

An ambitious platform designed to bring together business leaders in Africa to collaborate with heads of government and other stakeholders to tackle basic health challenges in Africa has been launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with assurances from government to collaborate for a healthier Africans.

The platform, African Business Coalition for Health (ABC Health) was launched with commitments by all partners and stakeholders to put efforts together to improve basic health care services in the continent during the inaugural Africa Business: Health Forum 2019, which witnessed the launch of the official logo of the ABC Health.

The ABC Health is a joint initiative of Aliko Dangote Foundation; GBCHealth, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), with the objective of driving business leadership, strengthening partnerships, and facilitating investments to change the face of healthcare in Africa.

Taking place on the margins of the 32nd African Union Summit Heads of Governments and Business Community leaders across Africa, the forum  examined opportunities to accelerate economic development and growth of the continent through a healthcare reform agenda that focuses on the wellbeing of employees for a more active and productive workforce.

The forum is expected to unify Africa's key decision makers in exploring opportunities for catalysing growth in the continent's economy, through business partnerships to invest in the health sector.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who was represented by the Foundation's Executive Director, Halima Aliko-Dangote said Africa Business Health Forum would identify issues and solutions to Africa's health challenges with a view to mobilizing the will to confront it headlong.

He said it is a well-known fact that there is a vital relationship between health and economic growth and development in Africa as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, and save more. Access to essential health services is an important aspect of development.

Dangote stated that "Governments from both developed and developing countries are increasingly looking at public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a way to expand access to higher-quality health services by leveraging capital, managerial capacity, and know-how from the private sector."

According to him, "Africa's healthcare systems demand significant investments to meet the needs of their growing populations, changing patterns of diseases and the internationally-agreed development goals.

He said as a businessman, and through Aliko Dangote foundation, he is committed to working with governments and key stakeholders for the development of impactful health initiatives in Africa in the belief that private sector leaders have a strong role to play.

Back in his home country, Dangote informed his audience that in keeping with his passion to see a healthier African people and better continent he has proposed and charged business leaders to commit at least one percent of their profit after tax to support the health sector.

In his own remark, the Co-Chair of the GBCHealth, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said while Africa has made significant progress in the funding of healthcare, "we are still very far from where we need to be to achieve SDG Goal 3,"

He lamented that the healthcare in Africa is constrained by scarce public funding and limited donor support, and that the out of pocket expenditure accounts for 36% of Africa's total healthcare spend pointing out that given the income levels in Africa, it is no surprise that healthcare spend in Africa is grossly inadequate to meet Africa's needs leading to a financing gap of N66bn per annum.

Mr Imhokuede said it was clear that African government alone cannot solve this challenge, which is further exacerbated by our growing population and Africa's changing disease portfolio. Therefore there is no alternative but to turn to the private sector to complement government funding.

Said he "Our continent accounts for less than 2% of global health even though our very fertile people account for 16% of global population and carry 26% of the global disease burden. By 2050 Africans will account for more than 50% of global population growth much of that coming from my country Nigeria, a great opportunity and at the same time a ticking time bomb should we fail our health systems quickly.

"That is why we have gathered here in Addis Ababa today to see how together we can fix health in Africa. The private sector and the public sector working together as partners have the potential to change Africa's healthcare from doom and gloom to progress and results. Africa's private sector has great capacity to be relevant partners.

"The private sector must be encouraged to optimize and step up its involvement and contribution to health funding in Africa. We have seen what global private sector players accomplished in the fight against the AIDS epidemic through powerful coalitions such as GBCHealth. This is an indication of the power of consolidated effort which Africa's growing private sector can bring to solving our health challenges."    

"African leaders now have a stronger sense of urgency to combat the lack of quality health care that Africans endure. The inequality of healthcare available to Africans compared to people in other parts of the globe is vast and unacceptably pervasive. With the cooperation of both the public and private sectors, there is a huge potential to boost health outcomes with significant financial gains," said Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Co-Chair GBCHealth.

The Executive Secretary of the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Vera Songwe regretted that that Africa with over 50 countries is struggling to combat her healthcare challenges but that organizations such as being launch offer a veritable perspective from the private sector to the solutions to Africa's health care problems.

She said about $17.3 worth of drugs are imported into African Continent and that if Africa can manufacture those drugs, then that would be 17.3 billion worth of jobs created.

However, to attract the participation of African private sector, there is the need to create enabling environment. "To the private sector, our leaders are expecting you to invest in healthcare because you will get higher returns than you can get anywhere else."

According to her, a healthier Africa would be a happy Africa and a happy Africa will be a productive Africa.

One after another, the three African heads of governments, namely President of Republic of Djibouti, Omar Gilles; the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed; and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi took turn to explain what their administrations have been doing to improve health care delivery services in their respective countries.

They also gave lack of adequate funding as part of the problems militating aainst achieving their administrations' plan to provide sound health care services just as other African countries.

They all endorsed the establishment of Africa Business Coalition for Health and concluded that it would provide opportunities to accelerate economic development and growth of the continent through a healthcare reform agenda that focuses on the wellbeing of employees for a more active and productive workforce.

Report Says Miners Not Paying Karamoja Royalties

A report by conducted in April by Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO) and Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA) reveals that minng companies are paying the 3 percent royalty levy to land owners in Karamoja as stipulated in the Mining Act.

"Royalty payments often do not reach landowners and payment problems are compounded by the complex nature of land. There is lack of clarity as to where these payments should go in those cases where mined land is communally owned," Ms Phillo Aryatwijuka, the programme officer ECO, is quoted by Daily Monitor.

Many communities in the region, she said, were not receiving their royalties due to the communal nature of land whose rightful owners could not be verified legally. Communities in areas around Tororo Cement mining Limestone, for instance, have never received their 3 per cent in royalties.

To solve the problem, ECO and UCCA suggested that the communities organise themselves in groups to acquire communal land titles.

Artisanal and Small scale mining in Karamoja is one of the biggest economic activities in the region employing 20,000 miners with 54,000 direct and induced labourers. A total of 432,000 people in households depend on incomes from ASM.

African Gold Refinery Calls For Gold Smuggling End

Gold smugglers from Uganda continue to take advantage of weak checking systems and smuggle gold through airlines out of Uganda. 

Mr. Alain Goetz, Managing Director African Gold Refinery said there is a chronic issue of gold trafficked as hand luggage on  commercial  airlines which needs to be stopped. Mr. Goetz while speaking as a guest speaker during the Mineral Wealth Conference said smuggling gold out of Uganda will stifle the value addition process of gold. He added that the smuggling denies Uganda large amounts of revenues and royalties. 

“AGR is in the business of adding value to the precious minerals and testing soil samples for precious mineral occurrences. AGR focus is on high responsible sourcing of gold, extensive KYC Know Your Customer and due diligence programs,” Mr. Goetz said 

He urged NGOs should not kill the development of Uganda’s gold and mining industry through false reports. He said host country governments are the main stakeholders to promote good mining practices. 

He called for accreditation initiatives for gold refineries. “These are initiatives that certify gold and silver refinery regulated by the government entities,” he said. 

Mr. Alaba Kuterema, Commissioner Mines Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines-Future of ASM and development minerals in Uganda said the mining sector players are faced with many challenges that can be addressed. Kuterema said Uganda’s mining sector is so far dominated by artisanal and small scale miners. 

The sector she said faces challenges which include; inadequate legal, regulatory and institutional framework to govern ASM, poor access to geological information, conflict between ASM and medium and large scale miners. 

Others are use of poor technologies that compound lack of compliance to Safety, Health and Environmental Standards, Limited access to business growth capital that increases child labour, gender inequity and harmful mining practices. 

The activities of ASM create land and natural resource degradation, high occupational Health and Safety Risks, non – compliance to Environmental standards that compromise sustainable mining standards, gender inequalities, income disparities between men and women ; poor technologies that exclude women from certain mining activities. 

She said to overcome these challenges appropriate licensing regime for ASMs  is required including the development minerals, strengthen linkages with Local Government for close monitoring, map and designate specific sites for ASMs, provide for progressive development of ASM, encourage local content and participation. 

She noted that creating and finding alternative economic activity for ASM players is key alongside mining. She noted uncontrolled mining by ASM makes them a major environmental risk. She added that formalization and regulation is key in ensuring sustainable development is a critical need. 

Mr. Johann Kisekulo, Development and Implementation of an Electronic Traceability system for ASM Gold Mining & Trade in Kampene, Maniema Province DR Congo said the DRC Ministry of Mines has been focused on strengthening of transparency and control in the raw materials sector in Eastern DRC 

BGR, a German institution and DRC, ministry of Mines introduced and implemented the Certified Trading Chains (CTC) for mineral conflict materials 3TG (Tin, Tantalum, Tungsten + Gold) 

The CTC ensures legal trade, certified production, and social environmental standards’ protection during mining, extraction and processing of the minerals. 

The goal is to improve ASM trade and supply chains to reduce conflict financing in the Great lakes Region due to illegal supply and smuggling of 3TG minerals.  It seeks to reduce lost revenue in the form of taxes and royalties to Government; lost revenue is a great hindrance to Infrastructure development in the region. CTC helps to meet compliance with the OECD guidelines so as to improve product value, confidence by International buyers. 

At Kampene, DRC, a gold pilot study was conducted. Out of 10 gold co-operatives in the area four were selected for the study. 

IBES AG developed the GOTS TM platform to provide electronic traceability system for all ASM. GOTS TM provides a low – conform tech platform and audit / certification framework that implements secure trade documents and proof of origin system for the precious / mineral supply chain. 

Identity cards with chips have been developed for dealers in the sector. Mobile phones, tablets and computers with installed software that identifies persons and bags are used in the traceability system making it easy for ASM players. 

GOTS Mineral Trace TM platform can be adopted and customized for any country in the Great Lakes Region. The platform can be extended to cover development minerals sector (sand, stone gravel etc.). The benefits to governments are improved revenue collection tax and royalties. He said this system can be developed in any country and can cover any mineral.

Security Agencies Thwart Shs370m Fake Gold Scam

A team of security officers arrested people selling what is believed to be fake gold to a Chinese investor. Some of the arrested individuals were from DR Congo and Cameroon; working with Ugandan accomplices. 

The Chinese investor indentified as Star Young was lured to travel to Uganda with the prospect of buying gold. Upon arriving in the country, he was linked to one James Byaruhanga, who said he had a company which deals in gold.

“It's alleged that Yang was showed two genuine gold bars which were subjected to test by a one Sayid Musanji, he was asked to deposit 83,000 US Dollars and then promised to return on the following Monday to pick the ready gold bar consignment,” police said in a statement. 

On failure to provide the investor with the agreed gold bars, he then sought for assistance from authorities and a theft report was filed against them alleging he was defrauded of 100,000 US Dollars (about Shs370m).

After searching at their premises, suspects were found in illegal possession of G4S Private security organization uniforms, 100 kilograms of suspected fake gold, weighing scales and gold testing machines.

Qatar Targets Energy, Mining Investment In Uganda

Qatar has expressed interest to invest in Uganda after a representative of rich Arab nation recently paid a courtesy visit to President Yoweri Museveni.

Sheikh Faisal bin Thani Al-Thani, Director of Regional Investment Funds at the Qatar Investment Authority, met President Museveni to explore investment opportunities in the sectors of infrastructure, energy, tourism, mining and food security in Africa.

Sheikh Faisal also conveyed warm greetings to President Museveni and the people of Uganda, from the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

“The Qatar Investment Authority has US$1 billion to invest in Africa and we are looking for areas to partner in,” he said.Qatar Investment Authority is a state-owned holding foreign wealth fund that specializes in domestic and foreign investment.

President Museveni praised Qatar’s interest to invest in Africa and Uganda as one of the countries to invest in. He said there are opportunities in the agro-processing business, mining, and hospitality, among others.

“We want vertical integration. We want to do processing here that is linked with our industries. For example, we want to mine copper to feed our transformer and military sectors. Minerals must be purified to the top level so that we use them for our industries and export the excess,” he stressed.

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