By Sierra Ruth Arinaitwe
The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa has called upon stakeholders in the mining sector to practice sustainable exploitation of mineral resources for social economic development of the people of Uganda.
Nankabirwa made the remarks while officiating at the opening of the two day 11th Annual Minerals Wealth Conference organized by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum together with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development under the theme “positioning Uganda’s mineral sector for the green energy revolution.”
Referring to the theme of the conference, the minister emphasized that the green energy revolution must target the social economic development of the people of Africa rather than adding wealth to those who have been exploiting the minerals irresponsibly for decades.
“As policy makers, we want to see the minerals resources being used for social economic development of the people in the areas in a move to fight poverty in the country,” said the minister.
Nakabirwa added that the government also recognizes the challenges brought about by climate change thus the need to strike a balance between fighting poverty and maintaining a conducive environment. “Social economic development cannot be achieved in areas where people are suffering due to environmental degradation that leads to floods. This calls for a critical discussion for all stakeholders in the mining sector to practice sustainable exploitation,”
The Energy Minister advised the stakeholders to make use of the reliable electricity in Uganda to facilitate value addition of mineral resources instead of selling raw materials to development partners. She also urged the stakeholders to make use of available opportunities to make strategic partnerships which will in turn enhance development of the country.
Hon Richard Kaijuka, the Chairperson Board of Trustees of the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, called for a green economy where minerals are critical in substituting the fossil fuels known for escalating climate change.
“Due to climate change, countries are embracing the use of renewable energy and green minerals in replacement of fossil fuels. Uganda is gifted with some of these minerals such as lithium, graphite which are now being sold worldwide,” he said.
Ms. Agnes Alaba the Director of the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines said that government is moving to establish mineral reserves and explorations of minerals for green energy .The minerals include 3Ts, manganese, iron, copper, cobalt, and iron which are key resources for infrastructure and technology development that supports the green energy.
Alaba said that government has managed to put in place a conducive environment all key drivers to successful mining among which include; availability of the resources in quantities and quality, infrastructures like electricity, roads, security and a favorable legal and regulatory framework.