Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) will this week on Thursday at Sheraton Hotel Kampala kick off a two day Mineral Wealth Conference where issues of value addition are high on the meeting’s agenda.
About 400 delegates from different parts of the world will be in Kampala to attend the fourth annual Mineral Wealth Conference (MWC), come October 1st and 2nd, 2015 in Kampala. They will be looking at how they can invest in Uganda’s mining sector.
The theme of the conference is “Minerals Value Addition – Road to Development”, a subject which Richard Kaijuka, the UCMP Vice Chairman, said ‘calls for focus, determination and hard work” and that it ‘it will not happen overnight’.
Uganda enjoys a wealth of minerals ranging from gold, copper, iron ore, vermiculite, tin, tantalite, tungsten, nickel, platinum, phosphate and others which are yet to be fully exploited to their full potential. The conference is one of the efforts in the direction of full utilization of the natural resources.
Kaijuka speaking at a press conference said Uganda is confident to add value because it has been done before elsewhere even if the road is long. To establish a large scale mine by world standards, at least $5m to $100m is needed in the exploration process – from discovery to proving feasibility.
However, due to a fall in metal prices and a global economic downturn, exploration expenditure has plummeted by at least 30% worldwide with an additional 15% to 20% decline in exploration investment in Africa predicted in 2015 and beyond.
An estimated 90% of junior exploration companies that existed in 2010 are no more; hence there exists a very strong competition for this highly risky capital globally.
Fortunately for miners eyeing Uganda, value added tax on exploration activities was scrapped this year after endless lobbying by the UCMP. A ban on mineral exports was also lifted recently by President Yoweri Museveni, further encouraging more investments in the sector.
“These developments have been very exciting for not only members of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum but also for the country at large,” said Kaijuka, adding “We are particularly encouraged by the government’s review of the laws and regulations governing mining that has made the legal regime truly user friendly for investors.”
Dr. Zwelini Mkhize, the Treasurer General of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, and also a former premier of KwaZulu-Natal, will deliver the Keynote Presentation at the MWC2015.
The conference is organized by UCMP in collaboration with Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Africa Mining Network, Win Win 4 Africa Consultancy & African Legal Support Facility.
The two day conference is sponsored by partners such as Zakhem International Construction, the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), Stanbic Bank, Hima Cement, Barclays Bank, AON Uganda, ENS Africa, Standard Chartered Bank, Swala Energy, Tororo Cement, United Bank for Africa (UBA), UAP Insurance, Threeways Shipping and Askar Investments.
The annual MWC is fast becoming East Africa’s flagship mining convention; playing a significant role in highlighting the huge untapped potential of Uganda’s and the region’s fledging mining industries.