The President hints on the possibility of hiring technicians from neighbouring countries, in case Ugandans are not ready.
Government will not hesitate to hire or import oil and gas technicians from neighbouring oil producing countries, in case Ugandans are not ready, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
“Nothing will delay us. If we don’t have skilled Ugandans, we shall hire skilled labour from neighbouring oil producing countries,” the President emphasized.
Ugandan plans to start oil production in 2020, though it is unlikely. Museveni was speaking at the closure of a two-day Skilling and Local Content Forum for the Oil and Gas sector at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018. The forum was organized by the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
The oil and gas sector is a specialized sector that requires internationally certified skills especially for engineers and technicians. Skills development for oil and gas, remains critical if Ugandans are going to participate in the sector.
“They [technicians from neighbouring oil producing countries] will be here in the first years of oil production and leave when we have trained enough of our own,” Museveni said.
In 2014, the joint venture oil partners – Tullow, Cnooc and Total released the Industrial Baseline Survey (IBS) report, titled, “A survey to foster opportunities for Ugandans in the Oil and Gas sector”, which revealed the country’s manpower need for the sector alone. According to the report, the sector is expected to generate at least 14,000 direct jobs and more than 100,000 induced jobs during the production and development phase. According to the same report, more than 60 percent of the jobs will be technicians and craftsmen like wielders and metal fabricators among others. However, these will require to be retrained, retooled and internationally certified in order to meet the stringent industry standards.
Government started the Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) purposely to churn out such technicians for the sector, but the numbers are too low. Museveni therefore urged the private sector to set up technical and vocational institutions to train the much needed technicians for the oil and gas sector. Government alone, he acknowledged cannot do much.
“My appeal is that Ugandans should set up private vocational and technical institutions and train welders and other technicians. The government is also training technicians but the private sector should play greater roles and get international certification for the technicians,” Museveni added. He said in case students can’t pay for themselves in private technical institutions, government will step in and offer scholarships.
Speaking at the same forum, Loy Abaine Muhwezi, the Assistant Commissioner, Technical Education in the Ministry of Education and Coordinator Skills Development, said government with support from the World Bank is to offer at least 600 scholarships mainly to students in the oil-rich Albertine graben to train as technicians.
Uganda expects to utilize its oil and gas resources to trigger economic growth and development. However, in case, labour is imported from elsewhere, it will leave Ugandans out of the sector, a move that could spell doom not only for the sector but the entire country at large. It means the benefit will not go to Ugandans but rather foreigners.
Dr Elly Karuhanga, the Chairman Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP), said that by the end of the 2018, the country might have to come to a Final Investment Decision (FID).
“Once that is done, we shall embark on the development phase that will see construction of the refinery, crude oil pipeline and other infrastructures, creating a lot of technical jobs. So, let us prepare to do the work.” Hon. Karuhanga said.
Total and CNOOC will each have 44.11 percent stake in Uganda’s Oil reserves
Edward Ssekika Tullow Oil Uganda Limited, a subsidiary of expects to conclude a farm-down with Total E&P Uganda BV and CNOOC by June next year. According to a Trading Update, the company has already submitted the proposed farm-down to government for approval.
In January this year, Tullow announced that it had agreed to farm-down 21.57 percent of its 33.33 percent interests in Exploration Areas 1, 1A, 2 and 3A in Uganda to Total E&P Uganda B.V for a total consideration of $900million. However, the move was opposed by CNOOC Uganda Limited – another joint venture partner.
CNOOC in March resolved to exercise its pre-emption rights, and thus acquire half of the 21.57 percent interest, Tullow had agreed to transfer to Total.
“Tullow’s farm-down in Uganda continues to progress with the signature of the pre-emption documents by the Joint Venture Partners. The Joint Venture Partners have officially notified the Government of Uganda, seeking its approval of the transaction. Tullow now anticipates that the farm-down with Total and CNOOC will be complete in the first half of next year with cash payment on completion and payment of deferred consideration for the pre-completion period being received in 2018,” the trading statement dated 8th November this year, reads.
Total and CNOOC have locked horns on the farm-down with Total seeking to purchase Tullow’s interest alone. The impasse has prompted President Yoweri Museveni to intervene holding talks with both companies on the issue. Before, CNOOC had exercised its preemption rights, Total was likely to consolidate its position as majority shareholder with 54.9 percent stake in Uganda’s oil resources. In the statement, Tullow expects completion of the farm down before the end of June next year. The company is currently working towards Final Investment Decision (FID), in the first half of 2018, with Front End Engineering Design (FEED) and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIAs) for upstream and pipeline progressing in line with schedule.
The statement also indicates that the joint venture partners are working towards reaching Final Investment Decision (FID) in the first half of 2018 at which point Tullow’s second cash installment from the farm down will be received.
Pre-emption rights means that in case any of the joint venture partners decides to sell its assets or interests in the petroleum sector in Uganda, the other partners have the ‘first’ priority to purchase the assets before a third party can be allowed to do so. However, a joint venture partner can waive its right. Once the farm down is concluded both CNOOC and Total E&P Uganda BV will each have 44.11 percent stake in Uganda’s oil so far discovered oil reserves. According to Tullow, operational activities are continuing as planned. For instance, the company together with joint venture partners is engaged in Front End Engineering Design (FEED) particularly for the Bulisa project as well as Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIAs) for both the Bulisa project and the crude oil pipeline.
Muloni Tables Kanywataba Oil Agreement before Parliament signed with Armour
Gov’t earns Shs 1 bn in signature bonus for Kanywataba oil block
Government of Uganda signed a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA), and issued a License for Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production over the Kanywataba Contract Area with Armour Energy Limited (AEL) from Australia. The exploration license was signed on Thursday, September 14 at Amber House in Kampala. Energy Minister, Irene Muloni signed on behalf of government, while Armour Energy Limited was represented by its Chief Executive Officer. The Kanywataba Contract Area is located in Ntoroko district.
Eng. Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development said, “This is the first Production Sharing Agreement to be signed in line with Section 58 of the Petroleum Exploration, Development and Production Act 2013, the Legal regime under which I announced the First Competitive Licensing Round during February 2015” Muloni said.
She added, “A signature bonus together with research and training fees, and annual acreage rental fees for the first exploration period amounting to US$ 316,000 have been paid to the Uganda Petroleum Fund”.
The Kanywataba exploration license has an acreage of 344 square kilometers for four years split into two periods of two years each. Muloni said, a minimum work program which includes acquisition of seismic data and drilling of at least one well.
Muloni said, the PSA provides for a requirement to train and employ suitably qualified Ugandan citizens has been provided for in addition to payment of annual training fees to government.
“The award was cleared by Cabinet and the Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Development together with that of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The Minister also said that on Friday 8th September 2017, Cabinet approved the award of two licenses in the Ngassa block and that the agreements would also be signed in a few weeks’ time,” Muloni said.
Weighing in on the exploration license, Robert Kasande, the acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, added that one of the major achievements from this licensing round was the development of a state of the art data room which remains open to the industry to view and purchase data, and will also be used for future licensing rounds.
“The Ministry was able to generate $ 2.4 million United States dollars (Approximately Shs 8 billion) from the sale of data to bidders which was paid to the Uganda Petroleum Fund”, he said.
Uganda’s first licensing round covered six blocks with a total acreage of 2,674 Km2 in the Albertine Graben, Uganda’s most prospective sedimentary basin. Out of the nineteen (19) applicants at the Request for Qualification Stage, sixteen proceeded to the Request for Proposal stage and four emerged successful and proceeded to the negotiations stage. This first licensing round was undertaken in line with the National Oil and Gas Policy for Uganda (2008) and in accordance with the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Act 2013.
The signing of a Production Sharing Agreement and an award of exploration license bring the number of companies in Uganda’s petroleum industry to four – Total, Tullow, Cnooc and now Armour Energy Limited.
PSA tabled before Parliament
Later, in a move to enhance transparency in the oil and gas sector, the minister tabled before Parliament Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) signed between the government of Uganda and Armour Energy Limited – Australian oil company, over Kanywataba oil block in Ntoroko district.
The oil sector unfortunately remains shrouded in secrecy. The previous Production Sharing Agreements between government and oil companies have been under key and lock and neither accessible to Parliament not the public. A court case filed by two journalists Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi and Angelo Izama to have the oil agreements made public didn’t yield any results.
The Minister also tabled before parliament the Intergovernmental Agreement between the government of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania on the crude oil pipeline outlining the contents of the agreement.
Under the Petroleum Act, 2012, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development is mandated to furnish parliament with periodic reports about the oil and gas sector.
After tabling the report, the opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Semujju Nganda moved a motion that the report be differed for further consideration. “We shouldn’t rush through a report of this significance to the country. It is important that Members of Parliament discuss the report, when the atmosphere is peaceful and conducive for discussion not that of intimidation,” Semujju who is also the Kira Municipality MP said.
On his part, Stephen Birahwa Mukitale (MP Bulisa), dismissed Muloni’s report as lacking. “The report is devoid of figures, it is devoid of the budget, deadlines, how can we talk of oil and even have first oil by 2020 without a budget and deadlines,” he wondered.
He added, “We need a matrix spelling out the role, budget and responsibility of each and every ministry and department in the oil sector, because this is a multi-sectoral sector, if we are to have first oil by 2020,” Mukitale proposed. Kadaga asked the minister to avail the matrix to the committee.
He said it is wrong for the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development to purport to speak for the Ministries of Water and Environment, Works and Transport and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and accused the minister of lack of coordination. “There is no road contractor in Bulisa, don’t take us for granted. Other ministries don’t have a budget for oil and gas activities. The president talked about a budget cut of 10 percent from every ministry to finance oil and gas activities, where is that money,” he wondered.
Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo (MP Agago North) wants the previous oil agreement to also be tabled before parliament and MPs allowed access. “I wish the minister could table Production Sharing Agreement for oil blocks where we have already discovered oil,” Ogenga wondered.
Ogenga who is also the chairperson of Acholi Technical Working Group on oil and gas implored fellow lawmakers to read and scrutinize the Kanywataba Production Sharing Agreement warning them that if parliament doesn’t provide oversight for the sector, then the country would be in trouble.
Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, referred the Minister’s report and the Kanywataba oil agreement to the Committee on Natural Resources to scrutinize the report and report back to parliament. However, no time line was given on when the committee is supposed to report.
About Armour Energy
Armour Energy Limited focuses on the discovery and development of natural gas and associated liquid resources in Australia. Armour Energy Limited was founded in 2009 and is based in Brisbane, Australia. It has 100% interests in the McArthur, South Nicholson, and Georgina Basins covering an area of 33 million acres in the Northern Territory and Queensland; and interests in the onshore Gippsland Basin, Victoria in joint venture with Lakes Oil NL. The company, through its subsidiaries, also holds interests in 7 exploration permits for minerals in Queensland among other oil and gas exploration works.
On 21st June, the three prime ministers from Ker Kwaro Acholi, Alur Kingdom and Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom launched Guidelines to equip cultural leaders in their institutions in managing their relationship with the oil and gas companies as productively as possible.
The guidelines reflect the three cultural institutions’ determination to play an active role in preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage, in ensuring sustainable development and in fostering peace amongst communities.
Oil in Uganda’s Robert Mwesigye talked to the Executive Director Cross Cultural Foundation Uganda, Emily Drani, on the milestone the Foundation has made and their expectations following the landmark event of the launch of the guidelines by cultural institutions for oil and gas companies operating in Uganda’s Albertine region.
What have been your major achievements 10 years down the road?
Our achievements over the ten years especially with regards to what we are doing right now is that we have come to understand the relevance and role of cultural institutions; we have taken into account some of their strengths but as well as their weaknesses as we have worked with them especially those willing to address those weaknesses through capacity building, documenting and reflection events. We have documented statements that they have made linked to the citizens manifesto.
In that statement they have highlighted their responsibility but also the demands they are making from the Uganda government and development partners. But they have also made commitments in respect to what role they play today. Of course the role of cultural leaders has evolved today. What they did 50 years ago is not what they are doing today. And one of their roles is protection of the natural resources. There are about twenty two points and this is just one of the points where they said we have a role to protect the environment because of its cultural significance, not its economic value. And so the question is what shows and how can you guide other cultural leaders who have just become leaders today about that responsibility. So today is actually about the responsibility they have taken because we’ve worked with many cultural leaders across the country and they might have responsibility but it’s not documented. It sounds very general and something that is very hypothetical so this is a practical way that they have committed on paper that they are responsible for a number of issues that they are going to take on that responsibility.
Uganda right now is abuzz with extractives development for which cultural institutions have been advocating to have major participation. Do you feel government is responding or is there need to do more?
I think there is much more that needs to be done to harness the influence and authority that cultural institutions have. There has been often a thin line between their authority as institutions and then their political authority. And therefore they have always been treading very carefully. So when it’s a purely development agenda they are very outgoing and very forward. But when there’s a very thin line as to whether they’re now overstepping that line you find they’re not very assertive. So much as the laws of energy and use of natural resources have been taking place they have not asserted themselves to say yes, we are key actors in all this and we need to be consulted and we need government to recognize that the resources were talking about also have cultural significance and that’s where we come in, because in the past of course they were managing those resources for economic benefit and now they are told that is something beyond their mandate; they are supposed to focus on culture. But even then they can still make a case for land; they can still make a case for natural resources where there’s traditional medicine, there’re secret sites which fall directly under their mandate but they’re not very forthcoming. Government has taken advantage of that and actually not consulted them; but also for government to consult you need to demand and be acknowledged that this is a place where you can make a contribution.
How would you rate the level of responsiveness by oil exploration companies to the call to conserve cultural sites/ heritage while carrying out their activities?
I think there are a couple that have been quite forthcoming because I know Bunyoro kingdom received funding from think Tullow ( Tullow funded Bunyoro Kingdom to the tune of 1000USD to facilitate construction of a museum that never was. This was meant to enhance the protection of cultural Heritage visa viz oil and gas operations ). They gave them a significant amount of money to build a cultural centre and that was without too much lobbying. They felt that was there corporate social responsibility. But I’m not sure about the others. I have not heard because we’ve done some reviews on the relationship between cultural institutions and these oil companies where they have just gone out of their way to (i) recognize culture matters (ii) to give some incentives to the communities to preserve their culture but (iii) also to find out if they can be guided where there’s a space of cultural significance and if there is any way they can avoid that. That on record has not been very strong. You might want to dig deeper on how a number of sites have been desecrated.
The cultural institutions are more concerned about oil & gas; have they considered other extractives? Because we’ve been to Moroto, the situation there is not so rosy.
No. I think the oil has brought to the fore that there’s significant benefit that can accrue to the community. But in other areas; for instance, there’s marble in Moroto but the council of elders there is very small. We know there’s salt extraction, there are different minerals being extracted from different places. I think some of the cultural institutions think that is a government preserve. And especially where there is a bit of contention over ownership as you have seen Bunyoro clashing over the forest with the National Forest Authority. So that I think has made a number of them not to be very forceful in their demand not only to be consulted but to benefit.
The level of awareness and agitation for inclusivity in the extractives sector in Uganda by cultural institutions is quite prominent in the Bunyoro region. Do you feel that resonates elsewhere in mineral host communities?
For us as an organisation usually respond to need. Of course we have different communities where there are different resources; it could be a forest; it could be a natural resource of another nature, mineral or something. But if the cultural institution itself has not seen that need, we are not going to go there and say you need a role in this. They need to say traditionally we have been responsible and now we’re being left out. Then we can partner because they have their traditional mandate but it’s not our job to go and start instigating that responsibility and interest.
An MP at a workshop said there was a resurgence of ethno-nationalism where cultural institutions are agitating for priority in sharing on what is a national resource. What is your view?
Well CCFU tries to learn from other countries. And learning from other countries we actually invited cultural leaders from Ghana where there is gold. And in Ghana fortunately for them the government recognizes cultural institutions. They are actually part of the legislation. But they have royalties there and I think that helps to diffuse some of the conflicts that you might have with the government and I think they do have a case because the land is part of what you should call Bunyoro Kingdom. So we don’t see any problem with Bunyoro kingdom demanding to have a percentage of the royalties. It’s maybe what it’s going to be used for or whether the community is going to benefit. That’s a question to be answered. But the principle that they should receive royalties is a valid one. Absolutely!
Going forward after today’s dialogue what are your expectations?
What we are hoping to see is that some of the three cultural institutions that are here pick up on some of the guidelines and operationalise them. It’s difficult for them because they always have challenges with resources but they are things that can be done practically without finances. And they can have negotiation with oil companies and say this is what our desire is and it’s standard now which has been set so we expect them to use it and for those who have not had an opportunity to develop guidelines we hope they’ll be able to borrow some of the principles in there. When they are dealing with investors, people in the extractives industry they’ll say yes, please could you adhere to some of these principles because it’s about the preservation of our heritage.
Chamber of Mines and Petroleum get new leaders
Dr Josephine Wapakabulo, CEO, UNOC joins the Chamber as special advisor, Elly Karuhanga retains his seat as chairman
The Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum (UCMP) has elected new board members. In the election last week, UCMP members re-elected Dr Elly Karuhanga as the board chairman. Karuhanga is the founding the founding chairman for the Chamber.
In a new twist, Stanbic Bank, Managing Director, Patrick Mweheire takes over from Richard Kaijuka as the Chamber’s new vice chairman. Kaijuka has been the founding vice chairman for the Chamber. Sam Thakkar from UHY Thakkar & Associates, replaces Paul Sherwen, as the General Secretary, Jeff Baitwa, the Managing Director, Threeways Shipping continues as the treasurer.
Launched in 2010, UCMP is a not-for-profit that represents the interests of private players in minerals and petroleum sectors that lobbies government to provide a conducive environment for investing in the extractive sector. It is credited for having pioneered the annual Mineral Wealth Conference and the Oil and Gas Convention that brings key players together to shape the discuss issues that affect the minerals and oil and has gas sectors.
Other members of the influential nine-member board, include; Adewale Fayemi (General Manager, Total E&P BV), Xiao Zong Wei (CNOOC Uganda Limited), Daniel Peterson (Managing Director, Hima Cement), Nicholas Ecimu (Partner, Sebalu and Lule Advocates) and Abdul Kibuuka (Corporate Affairs Manager, Tullow Uganda Limited).
The Council’s Advisory Committee has also changed, with more positions created. The committee has Oliver Lalani from Roofings Group (Minerals), Tony Otoa from TOTAL E&P (Oil & Gas), Patricia Ojangole from the Uganda Development Bank (Finance), Allan Mugisha from Ernst & Young (Tax & Investment), Pamela Natamba from PWC (Local Content), Miriam Magala from the Uganda Insurers Association (Insurance), Gerald Mukyenga from Multilines International (Health, Safety & Environment) and Carol Athiyo from AON Risk Solutions (Public Relations).
Others are Joshua Ogwal, a Partner, Ligomarc Advocates, (Legal & Advisory), Natasha Venus from Sipa Exploration (Human Resources), Dilip Bhandari from Spedag Interfreight (Logistics), Peter Bitarakwate from ZAKHEM (Special Advisor to the Chairman), Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo, Chief Executive Officer, Uganda National Oil Company (Special Advisor) and Aggrey Ashaba from GCC Services (International Relations).
The advisory committee aids the Chamber council. The council’s primary role on the other hand is to help the recently created Board of Trustees (BOT) to oversee the general management and operation of the Chamber.
However, Kaijuka bowed as the vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the UCMP to head the newly establish Board of Trustees. Kaijuka will be deputized on the board of Trustees by Jimmy Mugerwa (General Manager, Tullow Uganda Limited), while Gen Salim Saleh’s sister in-law, Kellen Kayonga is the new treasurer board of trustees. Kayonga is the boss of Asker Security, a private security firm and a dealer in the minerals sector.
Other members of the board of trustees include; Mr Paul Sherwen (General Secretary) and Gordon Sentiba, (Astor Finance Plc) as a member.
The Board of Trustees (BOT) was one of the new additions in the amended UCMP constitution, last year, and will be charged with providing overall governance to the UCMP besides acting as the custodian of the Chamber’s assets and resources.
Dr Karuhanga hailed the new developments as heralding a new chapter in the UCMP’s journey. “The Chamber has continued to evolve to respond to the changing landscape in the petroleum and mining sectors in Uganda. With a good blend of youth and senior citizens, we are positive that the new leadership is well structured to revitalize our focus and direction as the country eyes First Oil in 2020,” he said.
“At the top of our agenda, will be advocating for the creation of a ‘Dream Team’ compromised of government officials and us in the private sector that will make sure our local content aspirations are met through skilling as many Ugandans as possible in all relevant and practical areas while ensuring all timelines are adhered to, to beat the 2020 target.” Dr Karuhanga added.
Karuhanga reiterated UCMP’s appeal for more transparency in the minerals sector, Svalue addition using the latest technologies.
By Our Hoima Correspondent and Edward Ssekika
President’s envoy disappoints Mubende gold miners, fails to turn up for the long awaited reconciliatory meeting
Thousands of artisanal miners that had gathered at lujinji mining site in Mubende district to meet the presidential advisor on land matters left the venue disappointed over her failure to show up.
According to Mr Sempowo Robert chairman Mubende artisanal miners, they secured this appointment with Ms Kiconco flora, the legal presidential advisor of land so that they could be able to show her the area currently occupied by the artisanal miners, how miners operate in this area, equipments being used by miners, how many miners are operating in this area, to win her support towards an end to a possible eviction of the miners by the President.
Earlier in the same month July, the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni allegedly issued a presidential directive to have over 500 artisan gold miners displaced from the mining area of mubende in favour of Gemstones International mining company. This company holds the location license for the area, but had allowed the artisan miners to operate alongside them in this same area, from which they derive a livelihood. This however has since changed. Worried that the miners may encroach on all the gold, they reportedly sought government’s protection to retain back all their land for which they hold a license. Government officials, majority from the Ministry of Energy advised the president accordingly, who in turn ordered for their vacating.
These miners that gathered up from 7:30am in the morning on Thursday 13th April, left three hours into waiting disappointed after an official communication that the presidential advisor was not to turn up, because she was caught up with state work therefore postponing the meeting to 20/July/2017.
Mr Lukwago Peter one of the miners expressed disappointment: “We have been forced to suspend our work because we are law abiding citizens that need to stream line the course of our work. We really need government to listen to our side of the story other than favouring one investor, a move that has left us jobless.”
Lukwago added that the news about the presidential directive of eviction left them in fear.
“Few people go into the pits in search for gold. Few people are buying new stuff for their shops. Business is no longer booming because we can’t invest much capital for fear of being chased away from the mines,” he said.
Mr Senkusu Edward, the community development officer Kitumbi sub county explained that;” we have received a communication from the presidential advisor that she won’t be able to appear for the meeting because she is caught up with other state matters therefore postponing the meeting to 20/July/2017.”
The presence of potential gold deposits in Kasanda Sub County in Mubende district was first discovered by the British colonial government in the 1920s. Then, in the late 1990s, regular visits by potential investors with big plans alerted locals to the existence of a valuable mineral in their midst, and soon Ugandans from other parts of the country were flocking the area to start small-scale operations as illegal miners. Many people who were previously unemployed or underemployed from the streets of Kampala and from as far Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Rwanda have continued to come into this area. This has led to an impromptu gold rush with miners, washers, middlemen, buyers and exporters.
The area houses men, children and women who utterly derive their livelihood from artisan gold mining. These insist that they applied for a location license two years ago, when they learnt of the expiry of Gemstone’s first license. They however did not receive it, but Gemstone did again.
About 25 kilometers outside Moroto Town, along the Moroto-Mukitale Road that leads to one of the Kenyan borders, is a limestone mining site located precisely in Katikitile Parish in Tapac Sub-County.
In the early 2000s, the site was abuzz with activity. “The entire sub-county of Tapac used to work here,” says Mr. Lokiru Sisto Dodoth, the Gombolola Internal Security Organization Officer (GISO). Locals set-up camp at the site which was busy with life. Work at the cement mining site was the main source of livelihood for majority of the residents. Today, however, only a handful of locals work at the mines.
“Then, about 60 – 80 trucks used to collect limestone daily,” Mr. Lokiru says. The limestone site which sits on over 49 square kilometers is one of two licensed mining areas Tororo Cement owns. The vast site is dotted with heaps of limestone boulders waiting to be collected. Some of the limestone heaps has been there for over a year without being bought, according to the Mr. Lokiru added. Despite this and the very hot sun, youthful men continue to toil; breaking huge boulders with sledge hammers and loosening others with crow bars. An elderly man, probably in his 70s, with the help of a cane, limps around a heap of boulders as he keeps a keen eye to ensure the young men nearby do not steal them. We are told the old man is waiting for his sons to come and start working on cement boulders.
At a distance, is a heavy duty grader owned by Tororo Cement that makes the work lighter. The grader digs-up the huge boulders loosening them for the miners to work on. You could be forgiven for likening the area as a labour camp. This work is “no-walk-in-the-park” assignment; yet the laborers often spend many months without pay.
“These days only about 9 or 10 trucks come for limestone,” says the GISO. He adds that this is further worsened by the poor state of the access roads to the mines, which complicates the ease of reaching the limestone markets. Consequently, limestone business in the area is very low and no longer lucrative for workers.
“When a truck comes to collect limestone, the obvious priority is put on the boulders closest to the access road. This also determines the ease and pace at which the 15ton or more boulders are loaded,” says Mr. Nathan Mushetsya, the Regional Inspector of Mines in the district.
There is a perception among the local residents of a conspiracy among truck drivers to marginalize the Tepeth tribe by preferring to load limestone collect by other tribes, thus depriving the Tepeth income. This perception is confirmed by the assertion of Mr. Lomel Peter, the Local Council 3 (LC3) Chairperson of Tapac Sub-County. “Our people are not given work; Truck drivers prefer to buy from other tribes, so locals do not get market and therefore income for their limestone,”
Mr. Thomas Lomel, a 35-year old worker says “he has worked at the site for seventeen years, but he has not benefited anything”. A father of seven, he is worried that after many years of toiling, his energy is dwindling and he fears he might not be able to fend for his family soon. He says, the income generation option available, which is agriculture is unfortunately a distant consolation.
The Mr. Lokiru reported that the region has not had meaningful agricultural produce in the last five years, because of adverse weather conditions. A record five-year drought hit the region in 2009 and its effects have continued to be felt to this day.
During a meeting with a team from Oil in Uganda at Tapac Sub-County headquarters, the Local Council officials blamed Tororo Cement for their financial woes and predicament.
“Every time we call the Tororo Cement Officials to meet with us to discuss our problems related with limestone mining, the officials refuse to come to the meetings”, Mr. Lomel said. He asked the Oil in Uganda team to help them meet with the Tororo Cement Officials, because “they as affected resident have failed to achieve this” he added.
Mr. Mushetsya, during an extractives stakeholders’ workshop organized by Action Aid Uganda, reported that he had met some of the officials of Tororo Cement Factory who informed him that they had selected a Liaison person at the district to link the affected residents with the factory. However, Mr. Lomel said that “the liaison person had not been of any help to the residents’.
The officials said “Tapac’s woes, unsurprisingly, include royalty related issues”. Bona-fide landowners where limestone is being extracted have never received their share of royalties remitted by Tororo Cement factory to the Central Government as provided in the Mining Act 2003”, the officials added. Landowners where mining activities are conducted are entitled to 3% of the total royalties paid by a mineral prospector as per the law. Instead, the royalty money was being sent to another sub-county through the Community Development Officer. The landlords reported that this issue has since been rectified and they are in final stages of registering an association through which they will be receiving their royalty money.
Mr. Paul Omonuk, the Production Officer of Tapac Sub-Country claimed that the sub-county does not receive the 7% of royalty as provided in the Law. He also asserted that the district restricts the sub-county’s use of the 7% royalty money remitted to the district claiming that at one time they wanted to buy a vehicle to ease their movements, but the district refused them to do so. However, this claim was refuted by Mr. Mushetsya who informed the participants at the workshop that the Sub-County has authority and mandate to use the royalty money as per their development plans. He explained that the district leadership cannot dictate how the Sub-County uses the money, because they held accountable.
The Oil in Uganda team also learnt that Tororo Cement pays Ug.shs7,000 per truck that leaves the limestone mines. But, this money never reached the sub-county. It was later discovered that Mr. John Bosco Moru, the former Sub-County Chief, used to receive the money and use it for personal interests without the knowledge of the community. Mr. Moru was subsequently dismissed upon the discovery of his illicit conduct.
Based on the submissions of the workshop participants, they suggest that there is an information gap between Tapac Sub-county and Moroto Local Government that is responsible for the unease between the two parties. There is need for timely sharing of accurate information between the two parties.
Tororo Cement sets Record Straight
The Tororo field office is located in Kosiroi about 5 kilometers from the limestone mines. While there, the Oil in Uganda team spoke to the site manager, Mr. Kennedy Akenda together with a few other staffs who were disappointed with the accusations being leveled at Tororo Cement Factory by the Tapac Community members
Mr. Akenda explained that “the miners’ predicament regarding low business volume as a result of reduced number of trucks ferrying limestone was attributed to a Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) directive to the reduce the number of truck plying the route and the tons ferried to avoid continued spoilage of the roads”. He added that “the other factor responsible for the low business volumes was the profitability of ferrying fewer tons of limestone: truck owners found it not profitable to ferry only 11 tons of limestone over a distance of 300kms and consume more than 250 liters of fuel, so many truck owners opted out of the business and put their vehicles to other use” Kennedy said. “The distance from Moroto to the factory in Tororo is over 300km. It does not make business sense to ferry low tonnage of limestone and a high transport cost” Kennedy added. He informed the Oil in Uganda team that “the factory was expanding and setting-up another plant; “maybe then
Mr. Akenda further explained that they were instructed by Tapac officials to withhold payments on truck royalties until the mess created by the former Sub-County Chief is sorted. Once the Tapac officials give the factory clearance to remit the royalty money, they will do so accordingly, because they have clear records.
This explanation from the officials of the factory notwithstanding, the Tapac leaders are determined to pursue the matters until they get what belongs to them as benefits. They warned the factory from bringing their own labour force to mine the limestone, arguing that the community members are ready to mine and sale the limestone to the factory.
The Tapac leader reported that they are in negotiations with Tororo Cement over a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will guide their relationships.
Ministry of Energy argues that the farm-down creates monopoly in the Albertine Graben
Officials in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) and Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) are in contention on whether Tullow Oil Plc’s farm-down to Total E&P Uganda should be approved, Oil in Uganda can reveal. Read More
The Internal Mines report reveals that the company has so far invested only $ 51 million in revamping the mine but there are no mechanisms of tracking the ‘actual’ investment in the mine
Technocrats in the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development have ordered Tibet Hima Industry Mining Company Ltd to halt its activities over safety concerns, Oil in Uganda has learnt.
In the recent Internal Mines Inspection report submitted to Director of Mines, the technocrats noted that Tibet Hima Mining Company flouting all the terms of the concession agreement.
“We recommend that Tibet Hima Industry Mining Company Ltd halt mining activities until it has put in place adequate occupational health and safety provisions, which include proper underground ventilation, provision of relevant protective gear to mine workers, safety and precautionary signage in underground workings, a processing plant and in all concession projects,” the report reads.
“Miners were found working without protective gears which is dangerous to their health and as regards to mining best practices, it was also evident that mining methods being used did not cater for sustainable exploitation of Uganda’s mineral resources,” the report elaborates.
Tibet Hima Industry Mining Company, a consortium of Chinese companies was awarded a concession to revive the mining activities at Kilembe copper mines, process copper and associated minerals to final products in 2013.
According to the DGSM technocrats, the findings are based on field inspection of the mine conducted between June and July 2016 and it exhibited that mining operations at Kilembe site is more of a shadow of the previous Kilembe Mines operation described as ‘mechanized artisanal operation.’
As the regulator of the sector, DGSM undertook on-site inspection of Kilembe mines mainly to appraise concessionaire’s performance in regards to undertakings outlined specifications on the concession agreement.
Interestingly, the report acknowledges that since signing the concession with Government three years ago, Tibet Hima Mining Company has been able to rehabilitate the cobalt concentrator plant; where they have imported and fabricated on site flotation cells, installed a 1,500 ton per day ball mill and accessory spiral classifier, renovated one of the two existing thickeners and one of the six existing crushed ore bins, and also installed a new vacuum concentrate filtration unit among others.
The report however states that despite these achievements, the procurement procedures were done without passing through the agreed channels and procurement committees.
The company committed itself to injecting in $ 175 million to revamp the mines, rehabilitate the concentrator plant by replacing all the floatation cells and replace all the old mills with new modern mills in order to produce more than 24,000 tons per annum of copper in the first three years.
According to Alex Kwatampora, the Project Manager at Tibet Hima Mining Company, the report do reflect on the gaps in their activities but they have since rectified the problems. He explained that the company is going to invest $ 175 million dollars in a phased approach and part of this money ($ 26 million) will go towards upgrading Mubuku hydro power dam from the current 5 megawatts of power to 12 megawatts and finally to 17.6 megawatts.
“Yes we had some gaps at the time of inspection, but we have corrected them. We have recruited new mine engineers and provided all workers with protective gear in line with the recommendations,” he explained to Oil in Uganda.
Weighing on the investment, Kwatampora explained that DGSM technocrats’ mandate is to ensure that the company adheres to the technical aspects spelt out in the concession and not delve on the investment since it is not their concern.
“We write quarterly reports to Ministry of Finance about the investments,” he told Oil in Uganda.
“People have to understand that this is an old mine, re-opening it is not easy like building a new one, it is costly and requires a lot of time,” Kwatampora said adding that the company is to construct a copper smelter and refinery plant to process copper.
Tibet Hima Mining Company Ltd will also conduct a comprehensive mineral exploration to increase on the known reserves of 4.5 million tonnes of copper at Kilembe
The internal report reveals that the company has so far invested only $ 51 million in revamping the mine but there are no mechanisms of tracking the ‘actual’ investment in the mine.
Among other concerns raised by the report; the company does not have a mine surveyor, a mine geologist as well as a geotechnical engineer to assist the mining engineer in monitoring the underground operations and recommends that it should employ these professional before resuming business.
“Tibet Hima Mining Company Limited need to be instructed to fast track its undertakings as spelt out in the Concession Agreement, given that it recognizes it is behind schedule and ordered to file audited financial statements for purposes of tracking its investment,” the report recommends.
Tibet Hima Mining Company Ltd officials however insist that it has rectified the problems and therefore no need to halt its activities.
This is not the first time Tibet Hima Mining Company has been accused of irregularities. In March 2016, the company was forced to suspend its operations after an assessment report by the National Environment Management Authority indicated that the company’s sewage disposal unit had a negative environmental impact on the people in the area and the river Nyamwamba water streams.
Whether the recommendation of the technical team will be effected still remains interplay between the technical arm of government and the president’s politics of ‘not fighting my investors’.
Report by Edward Ssekika.
Tullow Oil PLC has entered into a substantial farm- down of 21.57 per cent of its 33.33 per cent shares in the Exploration Areas in all the Lake Albert Project licenses in EA1, EA1A, EA2 and EA3A to Total E&P Uganda B.V.
The London-based company yesterday announced that a Sale and Purchase Agreement with an effective date of January, 1st, 2017 will allow Tullow retain an 11.76% interest in the upstream and which would reduce to 10% when the Government of Uganda formally exercises its right to back-in.
“This agreement is based on the transfer of licence interests from Tullow to Total in exchange for cash and deferred consideration to be paid as, and when the Lake Albert Development Project reaches a series of key milestones, and represents a reimbursement by Total of a portion of the Tullow’s past exploration and development costs,” partly reads the press statement from Tullow. According to a press statement issued by Total E&P, this transaction will give Total a 54.9% interest, strengthening its position in this competitive project and paving the way for a project sanction in the near future.
“Following the agreement on the Tanzanian export pipeline route, this transaction gives Total a leadership position to move this project efficiently toward FID in the current attractive cost environment, while providing strong alignment and a pragmatic financing scheme for our partner Tullow,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Total Chairman and CEO adding that the increased share in the Lake Albert project will bring significant value to Total and fits with our strategy of acquiring resources for less than $3 per barrel with upside potential.
Aiden Heavey, Tullow Oil Plc Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the company will remain an active player in Uganda, “Today’s agreement will allow the Lake Albert Development to move ahead swiftly, increasing the likelihood of Final Investment Decision (FID) in 2017 and first oil by the end of 2020. I’m particularly pleased that Tullow’s long-term commitment to and presence in Ugandan is guaranteed by this transaction and that we will remain an active investor in Uganda’s oil and gas sector,”
He added, “The deal will secure future cash flow for the group from one of the industry’s few truly low cost development projects without any additional cash requirements expected. We will work closely with the government of Uganda, its associated agencies and with Total and CNOOC to move this transaction forward as smoothly as possible over the coming months.”
The farm down is likely to raise once again tax disputes. Of recent, such disposals have attracted Capital Gains Tax (CGT) which has been a center of oil litigations between government and the International Oil Companies.
Both companies strongly assert that completion of farm dawn is subject to approval from government of Uganda.
“Once this transaction is completed, Tullow will cease to be an operator in Uganda but will retain a presence in-country to manage its non-operated position,” the press statement notes.
The Lake Albert Development Project is a major development which expects to achieve around 230,000 barrels per day at peak/plateau production.
Report by Edward Ssekika