The Ministry Of Energy And Mineral Development is expediting a directive from President Yoweri Museveni requiring that they equip the mineral subsector with a modern laboratory to test, qualify mineral presence and determine its quality.
Speaking at the Ministry Of Energy And Mineral Development Joint Sector Review meeting at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Thursday, the minister Irene Muloni said they are progressing well. She revealed that they have repaired some of the old equipment and they are functional.
“We need the state of the art laboratory to be able to test the sample mineral that we pick from those areas. We need to assess the quality of those minerals, the percentage of this mineral contained in the ore so that further development can be carried out.
The laboratory that we currently have in Entebbe has some equipment which we have repaired. The ministry of finance allocated us Shs1bn to have the equipment repaired but in a period of three years, we should be able to have an ultra-modern laboratory."
The permanent secretary Robert Kasande said that for the midterm, they have budgeted Shs25bn to have the laboratory at its best. The lack of the lab has been a hitch for the mining sector as mining investors had to take mineral samples out of the country to do necessary testing.
No with own laboratory, Muloni said this will give them some sort of independence. Uganda has over 50 different minerals including rare earth minerals that the government and private sector have shown interest to explore and produce.
The other two president’s directives concerning the miing subsector are to register artisanal miners and build capacity of small scale miners and to ensure that commercially exploited minerals are declared for export through formal channels.
Indeed the ministry has moved to act on artisanal miners. Recently the ministry evicted miners from the Mubende Gold Mines leaving over 60000 gold miners stranded. The Minister speaking at Joint Sector Review said they are going to other mining camps to sensitize them and help them formalize their operations.