KAMPALA. Government has not renewed 260 mineral rights, geological director said at energy sector review on Friday.
Dr Zachary Baguma in his presentation said government has not renewed the mineral rights for the affected companies because they did not meet the spelled out conditions during the awarding of contracts while others did no express interest in renewing.
“A total of 671 mineral rights [licenses] were running against annual target of 650 in an effort to promote investment. 221 licenses were granted, 21 renewed, two revoked and 260 expired. Mineral production was affected by lack of mineral certification system and ban on expert of unprocessed ore,” Dr Baguma said.
Dr Baguma said government has introduced online licensing intended to promote investment in mining, increase information accessibility, fasten inquiries and reduce time wasted on compiling documents.
“With online licensing, one will be able to get quick response on available investment opportunities. People shall be able to know what is required for a mineral right without necessarily walking to our offices. All this is intended to promote transparency and reduce overlapping,” Dr Baguma said.
Government said it had introduced the environmental bond for new miners and those seeking to renew their mineral rights for purposes of restoring the environment that could be destroyed during extraction.
“Environmental bond is an amount of money a miner will pay as a requirement for getting a mineral license and its purpose is to restore the environment that could be destroyed during your mining period. We shall conduct an assessment to understand how much damage has been caused to the environment and what needs to be done to restore it,” Dr Baguma said.
Dr Baguma said 13,185 miners have been registered in districts of Mubende, Ntungamo, Moroto, Kasese, Kabarole and Namayingo. He added that mineral protection officers had been deployed in areas of Mubende, Busia, Kirwa, Nyamuliro and in all customs borders to curb mineral smuggling.
“The ministry conducted at least 30 inspections in all mining districts of which 80 per cent of mining companies complied with the mining regulations. We monitored three flagship projects namely: Kilembe copper mines, iron ore projects and Sukulu phosphate and steel project,” Dr Baguma said.
The director energy resources in the ministry of energy, Mr James Baanabe, said electricity disputes resolution had registered 53 fresh complaints and out of these, 14 have been resolved leaving 39 pending. He said their key priorities for 2019/2020 include connecting 300,000 consumers onto the national grid, commence construction works and connect 287 Sub County headquarters.