Law Reforms to Boost Minerals Sector

The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) says the ongoing amendment of the Mineral Act, 2003, will see more exploration and exploitation activities across the country.

Speaking at their recent annual general meeting, UCMP Chairman Elly Karuhanga said miners would have new laws to guide and regulate their activities by the end of next year. He, however, said that there were still contentious proposals in the draft amendment bill, especially on land, compensations, and certifications of minerals in the value chain.

Last year, UCMP members met President Museveni at State House, Entebbe, at a mining retreat and several policy concerns in the mineral sector were raised.

“Notable amongst some of the concerns in the Mining Act 2003, was land.[While] there is a law on land, it is still difficult to access the mines since people have the tittles. Explorers can’t just be allowed to dig holes in people’s land we need a law that will allow explorers to work together in harmony with the landowners,” Karuhanga said.

He further explained that the compensation aspect needed to be sorted. At the meeting, UCMP members described 201314 as a largely-successful year, with many activities undertaken focusing on stirring more member participation in the mining industry.

Irene Nakalyango, the UCMP chief executive officer, said UCMP remained a crucial stopover for investors looking to venture in the sector. Keith Kalyegira, the CEO for Capital Markets Authority, said that accessibility to affordable finance remained one of the biggest impediments to the growth of the mining sector.

“A lot of work needs to be done in the mining sector, [but] mining requires a lot of money [and] to cut costs, institutions like Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) should be a one-stop centre the infrastructure must be developed and social amenities like power and water will help cut costs – attracting more investors,” Kalyegira said.

Clovice Bright Irumba, a petroleum geologist at the ministry of Energy, said a lot of investment opportunities in the sector were still unexploited.

“There will be need for waste management services, engineering, procurement and supplies, and hospitality – investors should be prepared,” Irumba said.

Meanwhile, Nakalyango revealed that close to 300 local and foreign investors had confirmed their participation in the third mineral wealth conference to take place at Sheraton hotel next week.

Source : The Observer

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