The Ugandan government has begun the formation of a national mining company that will seek equity stakes of up to 15% in all medium and large-scale mining operations in the country, according to the minister of energy and minerals.
According to Ugandan geologists, the country has large deposits of minerals such as gold, cobalt, copper, iron ore, rare earths, vermiculite, and phosphates. The country also intends to begin pumping crude oil from fields in its west in 2025.
The establishment of a state-owned mining firm, as well as commercial state participation in the sector, are among the many reforms outlined in a new mining law passed last year. The new company will be known as the Uganda National Mining Company (UNMC), according to Minister Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu in a statement.
She added that, “State equity participation will be in medium and large-scale mining of up to 15% participatory equity interest at no cost to the government.”
According to Ssentamu, the state-owned firm will assist the government in extracting as much value as possible from minerals. She did not say when the government would finish establishing the company.
According to the new law, all mining licences will be awarded through competitive bidding rather than the previous ‘first come, first served’ criteria, she said, adding that applications will be filed online, which will improve efficiency and transparency.
Uganda announced last year that aerial exploration, followed by geophysical and geochemical surveys and analyses, revealed that the country possessed an estimated 31 million tonnes of gold ore, from which an estimated 320,158 tonnes of refined gold could be extracted.
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