By Sierra Ruth Arinaitwe
The Minister of State for Mineral Development Hon. Peter Lokeris has officially commissioned a gold mining project being undertaken by Wagagai Mining (U) Limited, aat Alupe gold field in Busia District.
Hon Lokeris said that the Wagagai Gold project being implemented by Wagagai Mining (U) Limited was a clear example of Uganda’s conducive environment for investments in the minerals sector .
“Government will always endeavor to sustain an enabling environment for investments to ensure that investors accrue returns from their investments and Ugandans also derive the most optimal benefits from mining.
The government further accords high priority to development of the mineral sector and has put in place a new Mining and Mineral Policy 2018, which seeks to streamline the sub-sector to promote investment, value addition, competitive national participation, revenue generation and poverty eradication for socio-economic transformation,” Hon. Lokeris explained .
According to the minister, the Wagagai is one of the key projects that is building up on government efforts to extract and add value to the country’s mineral resources- for job creation and industrialization.
“With the development of large scale gold mining and value addition in the country, many jobs will be created. These jobs together with the economic changes and opportunities that come with the project in the area, can completely change the economies of the region and the country at large. Therefore, I call upon the communities and their leaders to offer support to such projects that will benefit the communities, the region and the country at large,” said Hon Lokeris.
The minister who was on an official tour of the mining sites in Eastern Uganda was accompanied by the Director for Geological Surveys and Mines Ms. Agnes Alaba who represented the Permanent Secretary Mrs Irene Batebe and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Ms Agnes Alaba, the Director for Geological Surveys and Mines said that the Uganda government highly prioritizes the minerals subsector because the exploitation of these resources are critical for industrialization and it will continue to undertake interventions to support the development of the mineral sector.
“The Ministry will continue providing necessary assistance to the private sector in terms of mineral information, licensing and enhancing infrastructure for mining projects; carrying out geological, geochemical and geophysical surveys to acquire and package information on Uganda’s mineral resources.
The ministry of Energy will also carry out detailed evaluation of mineral commodities into bankable feasibility studies; construct mineral beneficiation centers to promote local mineral value addition and strengthening institutional research capacity in geosciences, mining and promote mineral value addition,” Alaba stated.
Uganda is richly endowed with a variety of valuable mineral resources which including among others – gold, copper, cobalt, tin, iron ore. These mineral untapped mineral resources give the country great socio-economic development opportunities as outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP III).
The growth opportunities created by the minerals subsector will lead to industrialization, increase export earnings and create jobs that eventually improve household income and quality of life for the Ugandan people .
Currently, Wagagai Mining Limited is employing over 700 Ugandans and intends to create employment for over 3,000 Ugandans and provide training to more than 500 local technicians. The company is stepping up the construction of the needed infrastructure and has built staff dormitory, office, laboratory, warehouse, parking lot, and fuel station among others- covering an area of more than 250 acres.
The company expects to commence mineral production in 2023 and it will be the largest and most technically advanced metal mine in Uganda.
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