Mineral-rich Karamoja gets regional office
In a landmark development, the directorate of geological survey and mining has commissioned a regional office for Karamoja sub region based in Moroto. The office, will among other things, carry out geological, geochemical and geophysical surveys; process and disseminate related information and above all, promote and attract investment in the sector.
This is a huge boost for the mining sub sector in Uganda owing to the fact that Karamoja has the highest mineralization in the country. The region has lagged behind in as far as realising its mineral potential is concerned. The region has also suffered exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous investors who have plundered it of her mineral wealth in total disregard of the indigenous people’s rights.
DAO Uganda under DAO Africa Ltd and Jan Mangal Uganda Ltd come to mind regarding such circumstances. The two companies abandoned equipment and desserted workers on their sites after exploiting minerals in the region.
Mr Anthony Abbott, a Sub county Community Development officer in Rupa, said; “DAO Uganda run away and sent another company from Jinja to pick their equipment but they failed. Their equipment is still stuck here.”
Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO), a civil society organisation that has operated in Karamoja for close to 12 years, came to the rescue of abandoned foreigners that Jan Mangal had brought on site.
“They had confiscated all their passports leaving them stranded when they abandoned the site having taken unspecified amounts of gold. It was not until our intervention that they were helped, ” said the head of ECO in Uganda Isaac Kabongoduring a mining legislative workshop review in Kampala. Hopefully all this will be a thing of the past.
Speaking at the launch, Hon. Peter Lokeris, State Minister for energy and mineral development, said the regional office would bring technical services closer to the people.
Ms. Ivy Nakalyango, the Chief Executive Officer Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, hailed government on the milestone and pledged private sector ‘s support to develop all sectors in the region in line with the mineral sector.
Prospective investors in the sector will no longer have to go to Entebbe to access services as the office will offer the same. Decentralizing the functions of the directorate is a key milestone as Uganda eyes the sector as one of the key drivers in spurring socio-economic growth towards attaining her Vision 2040.
The timing couldn’t be more ripe. Hima Cement is in the process of setting up an industrial plant in Rupa sub County. Additionally, together with Tororo cement, the two cement giants have location licences for limestone in the region. Karamoja is renowned for its high quality limestone.
The region is also famed for artisanal gold mining in Rupa, Acherer in Nakapiripirit, Amudat; gemstones, gypsum, uranium, graphite, iron ore, wolfram, copper and tin among others.