Government, UNDP launch development minerals reports

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals Development in partnership with the European Union, the ACP group of States and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have today launched Uganda’s first baseline reports which assess the value chain for the development minerals sector.

Development minerals are those minerals and materials that are used in our daily lives to make products such as plates, paint and toothpaste, to build houses and pave roads.

Uganda boasts of a diversity of development minerals including construction minerals such as limestone, clay gypsum, marble and sand among others. It’s also home to various industrial minerals and semi-precious stones.

Despite mapping of these natural resources, many of them remain largely unexploited.

“Development Minerals are economically important to local communities. This is because they are mined close to the communities and thus have strong domestic economic linkages,” Thomas Ole Kuyan, UNDP’s deputy country director, said during the launching of the reports at Serena Hotel.

He added that this close connection to the community makes it all the more important to provide sector-specific support such as business development services, access to affordable finance, access to market information, technology and equipment to this sector which contributes approximately 390,000 jobs, 7% of GDP and grossing over $350 million in value as per 2016 estimates.

The study reports profile the development minerals sector in Uganda and provide crucial information on the size of the sector, the existing untapped opportunities for local economic development, employment for youth and women as well as recommendations on specific interventions necessary in regulatory framework strengthening, oversight of environmental and health standards, and mechanisms for conflict management towards boosting the productivity of the development minerals sector.

Cedric Merel, the Head of Cooperation at European Union Delegation to Uganda, hoped that the information provided by the study reports would be used for the sector to be optimised.

“This will promote human development as most of the development minerals mining is done by artisanal & small scale miners,” Merel said, adding that, reaping full contribution of the sector for the country's development will require some policy and legal reform.

The reform will be key in ensuring that this neglected sector can fully contribute to the economy.

Merel further added that the European Union supports Uganda's accession to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and that in the framework of the new Sector Reform Performance Contract funded with  66 million Euros from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), the government of Uganda has legally committed itself to applying for EITI membership in 2019.

The reports provide more comprehensive data on the range of these natural resources, their sites of extraction and the number of people who benefit from them, especially in terms of employment.

In addition, the reports contain analyses of the current laws and implications for the development minerals sector and provide recommendations on how the sector can be transformed to drive inclusive growth in Uganda.

“We are delighted to be launching these Study Reports today on Development Minerals in Uganda. The Development Minerals Programme and these reports have come at a very opportune time when we are working on revising the Mining Act. The information provided will be useful in ensuring that they are included in the revision, so that the sector is well developed and can make an even bigger contribution to Uganda’s economy,” Zachary Baguma, acting director of Geology and Mining at the ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said before launching the reports.

He thanked the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states, the European Union and UNDP for supporting the sector and called upon all the stakeholders involved in the sector to join hands with Government to ensure the recommendations of the Reports are implemented particularly on issues of environmental protection and inclusion.

The reports were commissioned by the ACP-EU development minerals programme, an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, financed by the European Union and UNDP and implemented by UNDP.

The three year ACP-EU development minerals programme’s main focus is to improve the management of the Development Minerals sector in Uganda and globally.

It provides capacity-building support to small-scale private sector, associations/chambers, public institutions and communities that operate in the development minerals sector.

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