AU Launches Minerals Dev’t Centre

MiningIn what is being seen as efforts to use Africa’s mineral wealth to develop the continent, the African Minerals Development Centre (AMDC) was finally launched at the just-concluded Conference of African Ministers for Mineral Resources Development in Maputo, Mozambique.

In a statement from the African Union Commission, Fatima Haram Acyl, the African Union, Commissioner of Trade and Industry, described the minerals development centre as a road map to using Africa’s mineral wealth to address wealth inequalities and youth unemployment, which has posed a peace and security threat on the continent.

The centre’s development plan, finalized in September 2012, shows that it will be a hub for developing African countries’ capacity to manage their natural resources. This includes providing advice on better negotiation of minerals’ development contracts between governments and multi-nationals.

Fatima Denton, the UN-Economic Commission for Africa’s officer in charge of Special Initiatives, said that African countries should use their natural resource wealth to industrialize as well as transform the livelihoods of their citizens.

Uganda has about 600 mining concession holders, with licenses that vary from prospecting to exploration.  In early 2013, the Department of Geological Survey and Mines released data from the Geological Mapping, Geochemical Surveys and Mineral Resources Assessment that was done between 2008 and 2011.

The mapping, done across the country with the exception of Karamoja sub-region, discovered over 20 different types of minerals, including highly valuable ones like Uranium that could be commercially viable.

But because the country’s Mining Act (2003) provides for licenses to be issued on a first-come-first-serve basis, many of the exploration areas have been lying idle for years. Mining in Uganda is majorly artisanal.

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