New mining law to cut out speculators

By James Babalanda & Rainher Ojon

Kampala. The Ministry of Energy has said the new Mining Law will eliminate speculations in the sector through competitive bidding.
The current law – Mining Act (2003) – does not in its jurisdiction, cover several minerals that are mined and quarried on commercial basis, yet if considered, this may raise the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product to 5 per cent.
This in a way, limits governance in terms of procedures for licensing and supervision, leading to speculation.

Mr Vincent Kedi, the principal mining engineer in the Ministry Energy, early this week said: “The new Minerals and Mining Bill 2018 will also introduce a system which is identical to the one of the petroleum sector in which investors are subjected to a competitive bidding process.”
Government, he said, already knows quantities in most parts of Uganda thus the need for a revision in regulation.

“We are going to block [speculators] from this system. So, essentially we are going to invite companies to bid and then the one with the best proposal take it,” he said.
The mineral sector has had many challenges over the year with people engaging in exploration and actual mining without licences.

Mr Emmanuel Kibirige, a member of the Mubende Artisanal Miners Association, under the new law government should ensure that all mining activities are bided for.
However, he appealed that small miners are catered for as their activities have been suffocated by large multinationals.

“Where you licence a big company ensure that you at least preserve square kilometre for artisanal miners, as a measure [to promote the interests of] local participation,” he said.
The law also demands demanded that mining companies should provide royalties for communities and cultural institutions.

Issuance of permits

Action Aid, a civil society organisation, is also calling for fair issuance of mining permits in particular to artisanal miners, despite the concerns over their safety and environmental protection.

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