The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) is going into the 8th Annual Mineral Wealth Conference scheduled for 2nd to 3rd October at the Serena Kampala Hotel with demands tabled before the government.
UCMP, a private sector-led lobby group for the extractives sector in Uganda, has been critical of the government’s sluggish approach when addressing issues to do with mining in the country.
Uganda, endowed with close to 50 profitable mineral types, barely earns from the mineral resources because the government has not really made it conducive to attract moneyed investors into the country to explore, mine and trade.
And for that matter, UCMP is asking government to ensure that there is a conducive environment that can entice investors to invest in Uganda’s mining sector ‘whose performance towards the Gross Domestic Product is still very low.’
"As a country, we are still losing billions of money because the majority of the players are still artisanal miners. This has impacted big towards the development of the sector which has the potential to contribute significantly to Uganda’s economy," UMCP Council Chairman Dr Elly Karuhanga told a media briefing on Monday
"One mine in Uganda has got $16bn sitting down there. The GDP of Uganda is worth $28bn. Do you think that mining in Uganda is significant or not? One mine in Uganda is capable of changing the entire economy," he noted.
"Kilembe mines alone used to contribute 30% of the country's GDP. I like to repeat this because I think 30% is quite a lot to come from one company," he added.
Richard Kaijuka, chairman Board of Trustees at UCMP said Uganda has not done a lot of exploration as a country to actually establish what minerals the country has.
"Uganda is next to DRC, which is known as a mining destination. This gives Uganda a chance to have minerals that maybe on high demand in the near future," Kaijuka said.
"As a youngster, I was a bank manager in Kilembe. Kilembe was employing about 4, 000 people. Ugandans don’t understand the impact that mining can have on this nation,” Kaijuka added.
Frank Mugyenyi, a representative of the African Union advised that while Uganda has been mining and selling minerals, it can now go further and actually add value to these minerals.
The theme for the this year's Mineral wealth conference will be, "Creating an Enabling Environment for Mining in Uganda"