The theme for this year’s annual Mineral Wealth Conference (MWC), to be on October 4th and 5th, 2017, at Kampala Serena Hotel, speaks out the organizers desires to see to it that Uganda’s minerals play a role in the country’s economic transformation.
The theme for the 6th Mineral Wealth Conference organized by Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) in partnership with the Ministry of Energy & Mineral Development is “Minerals – “Knocking on the door to cause economic transformation in Uganda.”
“In previous forums, our focus was mainly on showcasing Uganda’s mineral potential, advocating for value addition and attracting exploration investment. This was all geared towards creating a conducive and favorable environment in the mining sector,” says Dr Elly Karuhanga, the Chairman, UCMP.
“We feel the time is now for Uganda to start earning significant revenues from its natural resources. Fortunately, our patron President Yoweri Museveni, who has always advocated for the addition of value to our minerals, will be in attendance to lend his significant weight to this drive.”
Uganda enjoys a wealth of mineral deposits including gold, vermiculite, copper, graphite, iron ore, tin, tantalite, tungsten, nickel, platinum, graphite, limestone, phosphates, clays with rare earth elements just to mention but a few.
Some of these resources, like the vermiculite in Eastern Uganda, which competes favourably with South Africa's in both quality and quantity, are world class deposits. However, they have not been fully exploited mainly because extensive exploration countrywide has not happened yet.
A 2015 Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report noted a 6.3 percent increase in the total value of selected minerals produced, growing from Ushs158bn in 2013 to Ushs168bn in 2014.
These numbers though, are significantly low. Industry watchers for instance believe that the right support can see Uganda easily become the world's leading vermiculite producer within the next 5 to 10 years.
With the mining policy and laws undergoing a review to match the private sector needs, stakeholders are optimistic that this potential will soon be realised.
The annual MWC is East Africa’s flagship mining convention; playing a significant role in highlighting the huge untapped mining potential of Uganda and the region.
The conference will attract expert speakers and over 450 delegates from across the globe including South Africa, West Africa, the USA, Canada, China, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC), the World Bank and the African Development Bank amongst others.
To be held at the Kampala Serena Hotel, an entry pass is going for $300 for nationals and $500 for international delegates. The forum will also include an exhibition on the sidelines with booths going for $1,000.
A diverse mix of delegates is expected to attend led by mining stakeholders, drawn from the private and public spheres, development partners, financial institutions, insurers, academicians, lawyers, logisticians, energy and construction companies amongst others.
Mr. Robert Kasande, the new Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Kabagambe-Kaliisa, a senior presidential advisor on oil and gas and minerals and Mr Edwards Katto, the Director, Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines, will be among the speakers at the October conference.