Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has urged mining investors in the country and those from abroad to prioritize Value Addition to minerals in order to build a strong base for the economy of the country.
“You should always bear this in mind – Adding Value to minerals – so that we get more jobs as well as build technical capacity and a strong base for the economy,” he said.
The President was Wednesday the Guest Speaker at the 3rd Conference on Mineral Wealth held at the Kampala Sheraton Hotel under the theme, “Uganda’s Transformation – A New Era in Mining”.
The 2-day conference is attended by members of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum and delegations from several African countries as well as Europe including representatives of financial Institutions in Uganda.
Participants are to discuss ‘what it takes to be a winning nation in terms of development and other pertinent issues regarding the mining Industry.
President Museveni, who gave a detailed account of the mineral sector in Uganda, assured investors that government will ensure that all the necessary requirements for adding value to the minerals, will be available.
The President was also grateful to learn from one of the guests from Nigeria, Mr. Emeka, that his company is ready to build a gas pipeline from Kanungu to Hoima describing the venture as a God-send help, as the gas will substitute the imported coal required for processing steel from plenty of raw iron ore deposits available in the region.
He told them that government in 2004 injected US$24.7 million for the air-borne geological survey and mapping of the minerals in Uganda and more minerals were discovered including the 200 million tons of iron ore.
He explained that a lot of strong steel is today needed in the country to satisfy the demand for the construction of hydro electricity dams cheaply, the construction of standard gauge railway lines as well as skyscraper buildings.
He added that other potential mineral targets have been identified and only need investigation through drilling.
The President clarified that Uganda, being a land locked country, needs a strong railway line for transportation of mineral products and other goods to national regional and international markets.
He assured investors that the NRM government has put in place a very ambitious program for electricity generation that will provide cheap hydro power for the benefit of manufacturers in the country. He said this will not only lower costs of doing business but will also attract more investors to the country and boost trade.