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Acholi Chief Tasks Gov’t on Transparency About Minerals in North :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Acholi Chief Tasks Gov’t on Transparency About Minerals in North

Rwot Acana claimed while there have been ongoing debates about the Sub-region having large deposits of oil and gas and other valuable minerals, such information is limited to a few individuals while the locals and leaders never get to know the details.
Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II addresses participants at a meeting in Gulu City.

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The Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II has tasked the government to provide clear information on mineral deposits in the Sub-region to avoid speculations by the locals and leaders.

Rwot Acana claimed that while there have been ongoing debates about the Sub-region having large deposits of oil and gas and other valuable minerals, such information is limited to a few individuals while the locals and leaders never get to know the details.

He cited the discovery of graphite in Orom Sub-county in Kitgum District which he says many people including traditional and political leaders have not much information about it.

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Rwot Acana made the remarks on Wednesday in Gulu City during the first-ever Acholi mineral wealth conference convened to deliberate on the status of mineral resources in the Sub-region.

He noted that there is a need to develop a sustainable mechanism focused on engaging all stakeholders in understanding mineral resources right from their discovery, exploration, and the impact of mineral extraction.

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Acana also tipped individuals in the region to come together and advocate for a fair share of profits that will come out of the sales of extracted minerals from the Sub-region.

Sheikh Musa Khalil, the acting Northern regional assistant to the Mufti noted while mineral discovery can be a blessing to a region and the nation, it can also turn out to be a curse if certain information isn’t made available to the public.

He said the government ought to carry out sensitization and engagement with the community in the sub-region in areas where minerals have been discovered and under exploration.

Sheikh Khalil however advised the locals not to abandon agricultural practices and turn their focus on the debate about oil and gas arguing that people should instead position themselves into tapping opportunities in the oil and gas sector.

Yesterday’s Mineral Wealth Conference arose from several debates and concerns raised by stakeholders in the Acholi Sub-region about the possibility of the sub-region having huge deposits of oil and other minerals but under-declared by the government.

For instance, Tony Olenge, an activist claimed that Acholi Sub-region has the largest deposit of oil but most of the infrastructures and benefits under the Tilenga Project were being taken to Bunyoro Sub-region.

Simon Opoka, another participant also claimed that Amuru district has a vast richness of oil and other mineral deposits but not declared by the government.

Felix Okot, Manager of Facilities and Production at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) rubbished the claims that the sub-region has the largest oil deposit under the Tilenga Project.

Okot notes that notes that out of the four oil fields North of the Nile that fall in Nwoya district, only Jobi Rii in the Murchison Falls National Park is under development and dismissed claims that oil discovery or investigation is ongoing in the Amuru district.

He says jobi-rii constitutes only 28 percent of the recoverable volume of oil for both the Tilenga and Kingfisher projects.

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Ali Ssekatawa, the Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) encouraged individuals in the region to tap into the oil and gas sector to benefit when oil starts flowing by 2025.

He says by registering in the national supplier database, local companies can get the opportunity to supply various items to key players in the oil industry.

He notes that over 120,000 Ugandans are currently working in the oil and gas sector including those from the Acholi sub-region which is significant for development.

Vincent Kedi, Assistant Commissioner of Licensing and Administration at the Mines Department Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development revealed that the Acholi Sub-region has deposits of valuable minerals that have been discovered in Lamwo, Agago, and Kitgum.

He notes that minerals such as Nickel and copper were discovered in Akeli Kongo village in Lamwo District, Limestone in Agago District, and graphite in Orom Sub-County, Kitgum District are currently at the exploration stage.  According to Kedi, investigations are ongoing for signals of uranium in Namokora Sub-County in Kitgum district.

Oil deposits along the Albertine Graben (Both under the Kingfisher and Tilenga project) are estimated at 6.5 billion barrels but according to the government the recoverable resources are estimated at 1.4 billion barrels of oil.

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