Government should quickly refine Mining Regulations and the Mining Act 2003 if Ugandans are to benefit from the growth in the sector, Dr Jennifer Hinton of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University said.
Speaking at the launch of the Baseline Assessment and Value Chain Analysis of Development Minerals report, Hinton, said laws on mining should be refined to capture trends in the sector to anchor it on areas of institutional growth.
Mining, according to the report, has the capacity to generate up to $1.6b (Shs6 trillion) annually. However, Hinton notes that this depends on how fast government can ensure that policies and laws are refined to put current trends in perspective.
The sector, according to the report, if well planned, also has the capacity to create more than 700,000 jobs every three years, especially from sand mining, clay and bricks making, among many others.
Uganda’s mineral sector, according to the 2014 National Mineral Survey, on average generates more than $75m (Shs274b) in revenue.
The study, which was jointly funded by the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union, captures 22 districts across the country, concentrating on 43 sites and 73 points of sales.
Almost 12,800 sites, according to the report, have been abandoned across the districts sampled not withstanding their potential to produce more minerals.
Hinton also revealed that with proper planning, the mining sector would substantially cut back on importation of ceramics.
Cedric Merel, the European Union’s head of cooperation, said with Uganda committing to join the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative by 2019, contribution to the sector would improve to $81,9 M ( Shs300b ).
“We will support the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to implement institutional programmes that enhance accountability, safety and human rights issues around the country’s mineral sector,” he said.
Zacharia Baguma, the director for geology and mining in the Ministry of Energy echoed government’s commitment towards complying with “environmental concerns, infrastructure, health and safety concerns.