President Yoweri Museveni has lifted the ban on the mineral ore exports from Uganda.
In 2011, President Yoweri Museveni directed the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Irene Muloni, to ban the export of unprocessed minerals. Back then, Museveni said minerals, unlike agriculture, fisheries and tourism, were exhaustible and, therefore, should be handled with care.
Announcing the lifting of the ban last week, Elly karuhanga, Chairman, Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum said “The President has removed a clog in the development of the mining industry that had frustrated the sector for quite some time. Remember all the mining companies had been issued with licenses and they were of legal value; so enacting the ban had not only breached the contracts with investors but had frustrated any developments that they would have been looking forward to.”
He said “The doors have indeed been swung wide open to welcome any investor interested in unlocking Uganda’s mining potential in any of about 50 minerals that Mother Nature blessed us with.” Karuhanga said.
Adding that come October 1st and 2nd this year, they have called on all the international investor community in mining to come and attend their flagship event, the Mineral Wealth Conference (MWC) in a big way, because Uganda’s mining sector is now reawakened.
Karuhanga said the ban had challenged the investment climate and as a consequence, Uganda could not record any exports of minerals during the time of the ban. So this development was very exciting for everyone in the industry and for that matter, in particular, the members of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP).
He however said that, the lifting of the ban was not a license for us to export “soil” (ore) to the world and fail to add value to the minerals. Adding that, the government of Uganda has not lifted the ban on copper and iron ore exports.
Karuhanga emphasized that we are not going to export any “soil” to the international business community as our grandfathers and fathers did. That is too much of an African story. For the companies that are coming here, value addition is the cardinal way forward. And the mining community in Uganda is very keen to add value because they too will greatly benefit.
He said going forward; the bottom line is about value addition which should revolve around not only minerals but also around the entire chain; including emphasis on local content.