President Yoweri Museveni while addressing the cabinet at the closing ceremony of the leadership retreat that has been taking place at the National Leadership Institute, Kyankwanzi called for more exploration of prospective minerals in order to develop the mining sector.
“Develop the mining sector through more exploration so as to provide more raw-materials for minerals’ based industries (cement, steel, copper products, fertilizers, alloys for steel such as manganese, carbon, chromium, nickel, tungsten, etc).” the President advised.
The President was presenting a paper on ‘Fast Tracking the Industrialization and socio-economic transformation of Uganda’ under which he emphasized the need to interlink sectors in order to reduce costs of production and enhance effectiveness.
The President pointed out that with lower transport costs, lower electricity costs, lower water costs and lower labour costs, Uganda remains with two bottlenecks that could sabotage industrialization efforts. These are the high costs of money ─ high interest rates and wrong tax policies – and the bottleneck of human resource skilling gap.
The mining sector in Uganda has not taken as per its potential partially because of lack of cheap capital to invest in exploration and production of minerals. The mining sector is also filled with artisanal miners who lack capital and skills to develop and add value to the abundant minerals.
Statistics from the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in 2014 indicated a steady increase in Uganda’s mineral reserves. Energy Minister Irene Muloni speaking before a Joint Sector Review meeting for the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development at Speke Resort Munyonyo in 2014 said iron ore deposits had hit 116 million tonnes with a net value of $16bn.
The minister reported a total of seven million ounces of gold that was discovered in Busia, Ibanda and Mubende with $11bn. Muloni also announced an increase in vermiculite reserves rising to 55 million tonnes, from five million tonnes. The minister also reported increase in other minerals.
Uganda is home to minerals like cobalt, gold, copper, iron ore, tungsten, steel, tin, diamonds, salt and vermiculite, limestone, marble, mica, graphite, beryl, chromite, lithium, columbite tantalite, kaolin, diatomite, nickel kyanite, feldspar, gypsum, phosphates, salt, sand and clay among others.