By Vision Reporter
A Ghanaian gold mining company, Blaze Metals Resources Ashanti, has entered into a joint venture project to explore for gold in the districts of Bugiri and Namayingo in eastern Uganda.
The partnership between Blaze Metal Resources Ashanti, Lynks FZC and Amor Mines will see the trio collectively hold exploration licenses in the two districts covering a land space of about 60 square kilometers.
Prince Opoku, the operations director for Blaze Metal Resources Ashanti, said they are targeting two million ounces in the license area that also holds other base metals such as iron ore and coltan.
“The two million ounces is our exploration target, but there could be more gold and that is the reason we will invest $100m over the next seven years to reach this target,” Opoku said.
At the current gold prices of $1,200 per ounce, two million ounces would fetch $2.4b. Opoku was addressing a community sensitisation forum for local leaders from Bugiri and Namayingo districts in Bugiri recently.
The development highlights the growing interest in Uganda’s budding minerals sector that recently hosted several global players during the 2013 minerals wealth conference in Kampala.
During the October conference, President Yoweri Museveni urged the industry to focus on value addition of the minerals as a way of enabling Uganda gain value. Opoku said the forum was called to familiarise the leaders with their exploration programme.
“Exploration activities such as blasting, trenching and excavating will be carried out. These activities will create interruptions, affecting the daily lives of the people,” Opoku said.
He added that the project requires compensation in the areas that they will have mapped out. “We will compensate whoever owns land, but we will not be buying the land. After our project, we will restore the land and give it back to the owners,” Opoku said.
Bugiri and Namayingo have for long played host to unregistered small scale miners who have been working the land with rudimentary tools. Wilbur Waisswa, the Namayingo district chairman, said the local communities had not benefitted from illegal mining.
“I am happy that this partnership will give way to mining of gold the proper way,” Waisswa said. Uganda’s Mining Act stipulates that minerals are the province of the state, with royalties accruing from a mining area are shared out between the Central Government (80%), the district (10%), the sub-county or town council (7%) and the land owner (3%).