On 7 December 2021, Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Energy led officials from the Ministry and introduced the Bill to Parliament’s Committee Environment and Natural Resources for scrutiny. The Minister disclosed that the Ministry is lobbying the lawmakers to expedite the amendments when plenary resumes because several private mineral license holders are not performing to capacity as required.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has embarked on lobbying legislators
to expedite the debate and pass the proposed Minerals and Mining (Amendment)
Introduced in 2019, the Bill, though facing delays, seeks to give effect
to article 244 of the Constitution to repeal the outdated Mining Act, 2003 and
reform the country’s law relating to the sub-sector.
Vincent Kedi, the Acting Commissioner Mines in the Directorate of
Geological Survey and Mines says the Bill strives to establish the Mineral
Protection Force to safeguard minerals against exploitation.
Bill provides for state equity participation in large, medium and small
scale mining up to a maximum of 15%. The Bill also prescribed stringent penalty
of 1 billion shillings and custodial sentences of up to seven years for those
found guilty of illegal mining.
Bill is also proposing the acquisition of licenses for building materials such
as sand, murram, aggregate and clay which exploited for commercial purposes,
though Article 244 of the Constitution does not regard building substances as
The Bill seeks to provide for the
administrative and institutional changes in governing the minerals, bridge
legal gaps, promote transparency of mining operations, and transform the
artisanal mining in Uganda.
While Uganda is endowed with various mineral deposits, if
passed into law, any person who will be seeking to explore or mine or dispose
of any building substance for commercial purposes shall be required to possess
a quarry license.
On 7 December 2021, Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Energy led
officials from the Ministry and introduced the Bill to Parliament’s Committee
Environment and Natural Resources for scrutiny. The Minister disclosed that the Ministry is lobbying the lawmakers to
expedite the amendments when plenary resumes because several private mineral
license holders are not performing to capacity as required.
//Cue in; “This country is…
Cue out…the legislation itself.”//
Sidronus Okaasai Opolot, one of the Energy State
Ministers, who is also the Kumi County MP notes that despite the Mining Act vesting
ownership, control and acquisition of mineral rights on Government, the absence
of proper mining law continues to affect the industry.
Meanwhile Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development
says key officials of the Ministry are undergoing an induction to acquaint
themselves with the necessary knowledge about the Bill to enable them fast
track and defend it.
//Cue in; “Mining and
Cue out…clause by clause.”//
In the financial year 2016/17, the Ministry registered 14,226 miners and
172 Artisanal Small Scale Miners - ASM groups. More 2,808 miners were
registered in the following FY 2017/18 and by the end of the first half of FY
2018/19, at least 11 ASM groups had been registered.
The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development – MoFPED statistics
reveals that the contribution of minerals to Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
growth increased from 0.3% in FY 2012/13 to 0.6% in FY2017/18 which has also
seen the value of mineral production increase from 159.3 billion n in 2013 to
179.7 billion in 2017.
Over the years, over 35 mineral deposits such as Uranium, Gold, Iron
ore, Limestone, Marble, Copper, Glass Sands, Uranium, Platinum and Cobalt among
others have been discovered in the areas of Masaka, West Nile, Iganga, Mayuge,
Hoima, Kaliro, Kabale, Mubende, Busia, Karamoja, Buhweju, Rukungiri, Kitgum and
Ochola's journalism career begun from Radio King 90.2 FM in Gulu around 2009, and Radio Rupiny 95.7 Fm under Vision Group in 2012. He also reported for Mighty Fire 91.5 Fm, Kitgum in 2015 before joining Wizarts Foundation in 2017.
He has been reporting for Uganda Radio Network (URN) since 2017 before being posted as Bureau Chief Kitgum, and latr Gulu between 2018 - 2021. Currently, he reports from Parliament.