Mineral resources are critical natural resources in the industrial and economic development of a country. This is because they provide raw materials to the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy. Government has accordingly prioritized to sustainably develop Uganda’s mineral resources taking into account the spiral effect it has on industrial development and improving living standards of the population. Uganda is endowed with a host of natural resources, most of which are yet to be extensively exploited.
In light of the above, the National Development Plan (NDP) III has prioritized seven minerals that Government would embark on for exploitation and value addition. These include; Iron ore, phosphates, copper, marble/limestone, gold, dimension stones, and sand/aggregates. These have been singled out because of their potential to impact on the country’s industrialization process and the ability to create direct and indirect jobs. Government is also undertaking significant investment in discovery and exploration of more mineral presences in the country. Therefore, the airborne geophysical surveys and geological mapping of the Karamoja region is currently being implemented. This in a bid to carry out nationwide discovery of investible mineral resources. Accordingly, the first phase of the Tororo phosphate industry has been completed. The industry will produce fertilisers, steel products, sulphuric acid, and rare earth minerals and generate electricity with the capacity of 12 megawatts.
Uganda has a total of 6.5 billion barrels of oil out of which, 1.5 billion is recoverable. A total of 111 exploration and appraisal wells have been drilled in the country since 2006, out of which 99 wells encountered oil and/or gas in the subsurface. Government has therefore focused on the development of necessary oil infrastructure such as the crude oil pipeline that runs from Hoima in Uganda to Tanga in Tanzania, the Kabaale international airport in Hoima, the critical oil roads and setting up an oil refinery to instrumentally contribute to Uganda’s target of producing oil by 2023. All these investments are at different implementation stages whose effective completion will then enable commencement of oil production. Similarly, the finalization of the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the oil pipeline and the refinery is in advanced stages. Government has taken steps to fast track the finalization of the FID since it is a prerequisite to achieve oil production.