Uganda announced that it had discovered 31 million metric tons of gold waiting to be mined in the country after several surveys were conducted. A spokesperson from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development in Uganda, Solomon Muyita, said that these reports are aimed at attracting gold miners and investors in the crypto sector.
Mining in Uganda: Ground breaking ceremony of Busia’s gold mine project, largest gold deposit so far quantified in Uganda estimated @ 12.5 tonnes of mineable gold, investor Wagagai’s initial investment is USD50 million, 3,000 direct jobs. @StateHouseUg @GCICUganda @Rwakakamba pic.twitter.com/sF6Zz937p8— Uganda Investment Authority (@ugandainvest) October 5, 2021
In a bid to boost the country’s economy, the Ugandan government has licensed Wagagai gold mining company, a Chinese firm to start producing gold products in Busia district. The company embarked on the construction of its gold refinery valued at USD200m in phases in the district in 2016. Muyita said that the discovered gold could start being mined immediately, reports NASDAQ.
Refining gold locally could enhance job creation, and improve social service delivery to those living close to where the mineral is extracted. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has called for the local refinement of the the commodity, calling any external refinery criminal. “It is criminal for anybody to argue for the continued exports of raw materials in Africa, when there is 90% more value in that product that you are giving to the outsiders” he said.
Tan Chun Chi, the general manager of Wagagai gold mining company, says that the investment has reached US $60 million. He explains that they have been lagging behind in the construction due to the lack of the two licenses. The company has recently obtained a gold production license in March this year and has a 21-year lease to mine gold in the country. and expect to double their speed because they expect to begin gold production by July 2023.
The company has invested $200M towards constructing a refining facility. Despite all the gold discovered in the country, the mining difficulty is notably high, and this impacts the amount of gold that is actually mined. Around 2500 to 3000 metric tonnes are mined every year.
“If this is indeed the volume that we have, it is time to clean our house, and do business, in developing ourselves and our country, by going to the middle income status and beyond.” said Winnie Ngabirwe Mineral Development Expert.