Development Minerals boost livelihoods of millions in Uganda says UNDP Resident RepresentativeOct 6, 2017
Kampala - Development Minerals have the potential to boost the livelihoods of millions of people and catalyse poverty eradication – Ms. Rosa Malango has said.
Ms. Malango the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator said this during the 2017 Minerals Wealth Conference with the theme; “Minerals: Knocking on the door to cause economic transformation in Uganda.”
She called attention to development minerals saying that although they don’t generate the same attention as precious metals, their voluminous turnover can spur development in local communities.
“Their value lies in their potential to be minerals for local development, boosting the livelihoods of millions of people, generating and supporting local employment with the ripple effect of catalysing poverty eradication. I am delighted that this conference is raising the profile of this crucial part of the mining sector,” Ms Malango said.
Development Minerals include, industrial minerals, such as gypsum and talc, construction materials, such as sand and gravel, dimension stones, such as marble and granite, and semi-precious stones, such as garnet and amethyst.
They are used to construct houses, hospitals, bridges and roads, and are manufactured into a huge variety of products from plates and glass, to toothpaste and paint. Furthermore, they are used as a soil amendment to improve agricultural yield and are crucial to the agricultural sector.
“With the growth of the infrastructure sector and rapid urbanisation that has been going on over the last two decades, demand for services and infrastructure will continue to increase. This growth represents employment opportunities for women, youths and special interest communities such as refugees hosted in Uganda,” Ms Malango noted.
In the exploitation of development minerals, the challenge remains how to identify and position small scale stakeholders, starting with the artisanal miner. Most of these miners use crude methods and tools, operate with in risky environments and lack capital for expansion.
A 13.1 million euro African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States Development Minerals Programme funded by the European Union (EU) aims to address this challenge and improve the management of development minerals.
The programme whose implementation kicked off in 2014, is implemented by UNDP together with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development conducts training for stakeholders and builds partnerships to strengthen development of minerals’ value chain. It has also produced maps and databases on the minerals.
Ms. Malango said that through this programme, UNDP is working with the Government of Uganda to draw policy and legislation to guide and regulate the sector.
The programme is also working to strengthen regulations on environment, health and safety in mines. It has also organised various technology fairs and networking events to strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration.
UNDP’s Country Director, Ms. Almaz Gebru further emphasized the important role these minerals have in enabling Uganda reach its middle income aspirations by 2040.
“We are delighted to take part in this conference for a second time as a platinum sponsor because it gives us the opportunity to showcase the untapped potential of development minerals,” Ms. Gebru said.
Mr Attilio Pacifici, the European Union Head of Delegation and Ambassador to Uganda who was also at the conference, invited the country to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
“As an island of stability in a conflict-affected region, Uganda stands to gain a lot in terms of improved access to the world markets if its exports of gold, tungsten and gemstones are internationally certified as not being conflict minerals,” Mr Pacifici advised.
Closing the event, Hon. Peter Lokeris, the State Minister Energy and Minerals Development has already put in place favourable laws and a conducive climate for investment in minerals. He called on investors to take advantage of this and support Uganda’s efforts towards middle income.
Organised by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the annual Mineral Wealth conference plays a significant role in highlighting the huge untapped potential of Uganda's mining sector.