Uganda’s Sustainable Management of Mineral Resources Project (SMMRP), which began in 2004 and was funded by the Asian Development Bank, the Government of Uganda, the Nordic Development Fund, and the World Bank, continued to create investment opportunities in the mineral sector in 2009. The focus of the SMMRP was to acquire geologic data and create an environment that would attract investors to the mineral resource sector. Final results of the SMMRP-funded airborne geophysical surveys that covered about 80% of the country will be useful for mineral exploration. A variety of minerals were identified by Paterson, Grant & Watson Ltd. of Canada using the four geophysical surveys they performed in 2008 and 2009 for the SMMRP and included asbestos, beryllium, bismuth, clay, copper, chromite, diamond, gold, graphite, kyanite, marble, niobium (columbium)/tantalum, phosphates, silica sand, talc, tin, uranium, vermiculite, wolframite, and minor occurrences of other minerals. SMMRP also ensured that financial support in the form of small grants was available to encourage small-scale miners and artisanal operators to legalize their operations (Kasita, 2009a). Information about airborne geophysical data for Uganda is available at the Web site for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral development (Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, 2011).
The government requested a 2-year extension of the original SMMRP closing date of yearend 2009 despite the project’s cost overrun that was owing to higher-than-expected costs for technical assistance on geologic information analysis and mapping. The additional funding would support existing and new contracts in order to complete all activities originally planned under the project. Exploration was expected to increase as a result of the SMMRP (World Bank, The, 2009).
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral development’s purpose is to provide policy guidance for the development and exploitation of the country’s energy and mineral resources; to acquire, process, and interpret technical data to establish the energy and mineral resources of the country; to create a financial environment that will attract investment in the exploration, development, and utilization of energy and mineral resources; and to inspect, regulate, monitor, and evaluate activities of private companies in the energy and mineral sectors to ensure that the resources are developed, exploited, and used on a rational and sustainable basis. The Ministry consists of four technical departments and a support services organization under one directorate. The four technical departments are the Energy Resources department, the Geological Survey and Mines department, the Petroleum Exploration and Production department, and the Petroleum Supply department (Ministry of Energy and Mineral development, 2009).
Minerals in the National Economy
The government expected to earn about $55 million from its mineral commodity exports in 2009 compared with $52.7 million earned in 2008 (Biryabarema, 2009). The revenue from the issuance of mining licenses increased from U Sh1.2 billion ($519,0001) in 2004 to U Sh3.3 billion ($2.4 million) at yearend 2009. By midyear 2009, the government had issued 498 mining licenses as part of its efforts to develop the mineral resource sector. The upward trend was expected to continue as more geologic information became available (Bugembe and Kasita, 2009).
Uganda produced several metallic minerals, including cobalt, gold, iron ore, steel, and tungsten. Uganda also produced industrial minerals, such as gypsum, kaolin and other clays, lime, salt, and vermiculite, and such building materials as cement, limestone, and pozzolanic materials. Most of Uganda’s aggregate, cobalt, gold, and vermiculite production was exported; production of these commodities was dependent upon world market conditions. Production and consumption of cement, limestone, pozzolanic materials, and steel depended primarily on the domestic construction sector.
This report completed prior to more developments in the oil sector in the last year or so. Details by commodity are available in the full report on Uganda in the Mineral Yearbook by United States Geological Survey.