Government Drafts New Minerals Policy

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Joseph Okedi, an Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Mining in an interview neither denied nor confirmed the allegations that corruption is undermining the sector. Okedi says the Mineral and Mining Policy of 2016 is just one of the reforms in the sector.

The Energy and Mineral Developments Ministry has drafted a new minerals policy for better management of the minerals sector.  The Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2016 will replace the Minerals Policy 2001 once endorsed by cabinet. 

There is concern that country's vast minerals resources are not contributing much to the Gross Domestic Product. Energy and Minerals Minister, Irene Muloni says the liberalization of the mineral industry is now over a decade but its impact hasn't been encouraging.
 
 
She explains that mineral industry currently contributes less than 1% to Uganda's Gross Domestic Product.  There is also concern that the livelihoods of mining communities have not improved with the exploitation of the minerals.  

 
She says the recent discovery of more minerals has provided evidence about potential for the sector to contribute much more to Uganda's economy. The new Mining and Mineral Policy 2016 has been arranged around five themes including the need to increase the economic contribution of mineral industry to Uganda's economy through more private investment.


 
It also seeks to ensure coordination between central and local government institutions in the implementation of laws in the mineral industry. Recently, government established a fully-fledged Directorate of Geological Surveys and Mines (DGSM) and a new Inspection and Monitoring Division responsible for enforcement for compliance.  




Despite the Changes, a recent report by Global Witness notes that massive corruption in the Directorate was the major reason why Uganda is not benefiting from its vast minerals sector.  Joseph Okedi, an Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Mining in an interview neither denied nor confirmed the allegations that corruption is undermining the sector. Okedi says the Mineral and Mining Policy of 2016 is just one of the reforms in the sector. 



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He says the Ministry is also hopes that Parliament will enact a new Mining Bill 2016 that reviews the Mining Act 2003. Okedi says the Mining Bill and Mining Policy 2016 are expected to work in tandem. 
 


The new mining policy provides more emphasis on environment protection requiring holders of mining licenses to restore the areas to almost original state. The Mining Act 2002 and the Mining policy 2001 are said to be weak on matters relating to decommissioning, closure and reclamation of mining sites.