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Government earmarks Shs50 billion for mineral exploration in Karamoja
By Steven Ariong
Posted Wednesday, August 1 2012 at 01:00
Posted Wednesday, August 1 2012 at 01:00
In SummaryThe ministry says surveying Karamoja minerals would help the government and the leadership in the region to know the type of minerals the region is sitting on.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has budgeted for $20 million (about Shs50 billion) to enable the department of geological survey and mines to map the minerals in Karamoja region using the airborne geophysical survey.
This was announced on Monday by the principal geologist and mapping officer of the department, Mr Zachary Baguma, during a consultation workshop with Karamoja leaders in Moroto District.
Mr Baguma said an airborne geological survey would help the government and the leadership of Karamoja to know the type of minerals in the region. “We have budgeted $20million and we are sending our requests to World Bank and other donors to help us to support the programme,” he said.
The State Minister for Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris, said the airborne geophysical survey had not happened in Karamoja due to insecurity. He said the money that government had allocated for conducting the airborne geophysical survey in Karamoja was diverted to fight LRA rebels in northern Uganda.
“Once the government gets the money the programme will start soon and the MPs and local leaders in the region should help government to sensitise the community to support the programme,” Mr Okeris said. However, legislators and district chairpersons in the region raised fears that the airborne geophysical survey might scare away residents from their homes once they see planes nearing the surface.
Mr Micheal Ayepa, the Member of Parliament for Labwor County in Abim District, said the programme is well intentioned but it might prompt people to run away from their homes if they are not availed enough information about the survey.
Mr Abraham Loki, the MP of Jie County in Kotido District appealed to the ministry to earmark a three-to-four month period for educating the locals about the importance of the survey and that the MPs and the district leaders must be involved in the sensitisation.
Airborne geophysical surveys are a widely accepted and cost-effective method for remotely gathering certain types of geological information in several parts of the world.
Moroto District councillors want ‘lazy investors’ mining licences cancelled
In SummaryKaramoja region is rich with minerals such as gold, limestone, iron ore, green garnets and marbles among others.
Moroto District councillors have asked the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to cancel mining licences of ‘lazy’ investors. The request was made last week during an emergency council session at the district headquarters.
The councillors said there are about 20 investors who got licences for mining in the district but have failed to carry out any mining activities and in the process blocking serious investors.
“It is very clear that investors who spend two years with a licence without starting any activities should have their licences cancelled,” Mr Michael Lomerinyang, the Tapac Sub-county councillor said.
Another councillor, Mr Iriama Kalisto said cancelling the licences of some ‘lazy’ investors in the district would create room for more serious investors.
The councillors plea was echoed by the Moroto District chairman, Mr Mark Aol Musoka who said as a district, they are tired of constantly asking for support from donors yet they have their own minerals. “These minerals can make us self-reliant if the mining process begins,” he told Sunday Monitor.
The call was made after Indian investors Jan Mangle (U) Ltd, who are planning to set up a gold mining plant and cement factory in the district failed to get a permit, even with their equipment already at the district headquarters.
Meanwhile, the commissioner in charge of issuing the mining licences, Mr John Odida promised to verify those investors who got mining licences but they have failed to start the activity. Karamoja region is rich with minerals such as gold, limestone, iron ore, green garnets and marbles among others but no mining activity has taken off.