Who owns rights to Uganda’s minerals?

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By MISAIRI THEMBO KAHUNGU

Kampala. Pastor Samuel Kakande and former Energy minister Richard Henry Kaijuka are among top individuals and companies that hold the highest exploration rights on Uganda’s minerals across the country.
According to information obtained by Daily Monitor between 2012 and 2018, at least 414 companies and individuals have applied for or held 907 mineral exploration licences from the Directorate of Geological Surveys and Mines under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
The licences are categorised as: active; application; pending; approved for granting and renewal, issued for purposes of exploration, location, mining and retention.

Of the 907 general applications from 414 entities, 10 companies and Mr Kaijuka combined, hold 88 active mineral exploration licences, meaning they have been or are exploring minerals.
The companies include Mechanised Agro (U) Limited owned by Pastor Kakande, Sino Minerals Investments Company, Hima Cement Limited, Oli Gold Muruli Limited and Optima Mines and Minerals Limited.
Others are: Jai Ambe Mining and Mineral Company, Sipa Exploration (U) Ltd, Gold Hunters Ltd and Mwendo Enterprises Ltd.
The data shows that Pastor Kakande’s company applied for 20 licences and seven were granted and considered “active” from 2015 while 13 have not yet been approved.
However, all the seven have expired with the last one elapsing in April this year.

The data also indicates that Pastor Kakande has been exploring possible deposits of gold, uranium, base metals, dimension stones, PGM, precious metals, rare earth elements and granites in Moroto, Kiboga, Nakasongola, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Nakaseke and Mukono districts.
He has also over the years applied for exploration licences for almost similar minerals in Bulambuli, Kapchwora, Kween, Buikwe, Kyankwanzi, Hoima, Budaka, Butaleja, Kibuku, Amudat, Mubende and Kyegegwa districts.
Pastor Kakande, who has been in the storm over sand mining in Lwera wetlands on Masaka highway, was not available for a comment on what expertise he has in mineral exploration.

A woman, who picked our call to his cellular phone number, said Mr Kakande would not be reached for any media interview.
“I do not think you will get him. Besides, newspapers are there for news and whatever they publish is none of his business. He can only be reached on Thursday and Sunday if you need to be prayed for,” the woman, who did not identify herself, said in a tone that did not invite further questions.

The data further indicates that Mr Kaijuka, the current chairman of the Board of Trustees for Uganda Chamber Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), has held at least 10 active mineral exploration licences. Five other applications have not been approved.
He has been exploring gold, base metals, PGM, precious metals, rare earth elements, uranium, Coltan, Tin, Wolfram, Copper, Nickel and Silver. His explorations have been in Buhweju, Mbarara, Sheema, Luwero, Mukono, Bugiri, Busia, Namayingo, Arua, Zombo, Bugiri and Kabale districts.
When contacted yesterday, Mr Kaijuka confirmed having held exploration licences over years but insisted he has only two active licences currently after the rest expired.

“I do not have any licences under my name except two. You are talking about the past because those which are under my name expired,” Mr Kaijuka said by telephone yesterday.
Asked what expertise he has in mineral exploration, which requires technical knowledge and sophisticated equipment, Mr Kaijuka said: “Without getting experts to do it, you would not do anything. So, I am having a partnership with people and I am in the field working. It is a very expensive exercise.”

Daily Monitor could not establish owners behind other companies that have held multiple mineral exploration licences apart from the well known Hima Cement Ltd, Tororo Cement Ltd and Mechanised Agro (U) Limited.
According to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) database, Sino Minerals Investments Company was incorporated in Uganda on July 4, 2011 by five Chinese nationals, Li Bin, Ding Ming, Dong Fuzhang, Kong Dong Sheng and Wang Lihong.
It has had 13 active exploration licences and six other application that have not been approved.

However, Mr Fuzhang, Ms Lihong and Mr Li Bin have since sold their shares to another company called Xia Men Investments Limited whose new owners could not be readily established.
Sipa Exploration Uganda was incorporated on January 23, 2012 by Australians, Mr Michael Doepel who had 80 per cent shares and Mr Nicholas John Archibald with 20 per cent.
However, Mr Michael later sold 79 shares to Sige East Africa PTY Limited and one share to Ms Lynda Margarel Daley. Mr Nicholas sold his 20 shares to Sige East Africa PTY Limited.

The search also revealed that Optima Mines and Minerals Ltd is owned by businessman and rally driver, Mr Ambrose Byona who started with 51 shares but later sold 10 shares to Robert Charles Matuska. Another co-founder with 49 shares is Mr Dastan Ndyaguma, an accountant.
This company applied for 14 exploration licences but were granted nine which have been active.
Oli Gold Muruli Limited is owned by Mr John Muruli Muyambi, Ms Olivia Kobusheshe, who was a student at Makerere University at the time of incorporation in 2000, Ms Patricia Gold, John Mary Muyambi and Caroline Tracy Turyakira.

However, the Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road-based company later sold 50 per cent of its shares to Mr George Begumisa.
Other foreign-owned exploration companies include; Mwendo Enterprises Limited which was incorporated in Uganda on an unnamed date, by Canadians; Mr Andreas Edelmeies, Mr Thomas Lamb and Ms Jennifer Hinton.
On September 19, 2014, they sold majority of their shares to United Auranda Holdings Limited whose address is indicated as Port Louis in Mauritius.

The data obtained from the Uganda Registration Services Bureau further shows that Jai Ambe Mining and Minerals Company was incorporated in Uganda by Mr Nitin K Kohad with 98 per cent shares and Mr Joseph Gonzaga Kalinda, a Kampala businessman, with two per cent shares.
On June 30, 2014, Mr Kohad sold all his shares to an Indian national called Lokesh Tailor.
Mr Denis Kusaasira, a Ugandan lawyer, formed Gold Hunters Limited with 40 per cent shares. His co-founder, Mr Jimmy Katumba, a businessman, owned 60 per cent shares.

The company has had 10 exploration licences of which six are active and four are pending approval.
In 2012, the owners sold the company to Hursha Mining Company Limited.
When this newspaper contacted Mr Zachary Baguma, the director of Geological Surveys and Mines, to find out about the process of issuing such licences, he declined to explain.
“Write a letter to the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and then you raise those issues. They will be forwarded to us and we shall call you for a briefing or give you a written response,” Mr Baguma said.

Government to register miners
The ministry of Energy and Mineral Development will biometrically register Uganda’s artisanal and small-scale miners (ASM) to streamline their operations. This will be in line with a new mineral policy according to the its Financial Year 2018/19 policy statement. The State Minister for Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris, on Sunday said the registration is to establish who is involved in the mining. “All minerals belong to the government. But there are some people who know how to spot minerals and start mining illegally,” Mr Lokeris said. He said the exercise is expected to start later this quarter although he did not state how much has been budgeted for it. However, a House Budget Committee May 2018 report states that it will cost $350,000 (Shs1.3b). Mr Lokeris said the ministry is targeting 1, 200 ASMs for a start.
By Nelson Wesonga

[email protected]

Monitor.co.ug

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