In a move that could overhaul its economy, Uganda has discovered 31 million tonnes of gold following a series of surveys. The gold can be mined with immediate effect. The country now looks forward to attracting gold miners and investors.
The Ugandan government has already licensed Chinese firm Wagagai Gold Mining Company to start production in Busia district.
A tweet posted by the Uganda Investment Authority read: “Ground breaking ceremony of Busia’s gold mine project, largest gold deposit so far quantified in Uganda estimated @ 12.5 tonnes of mineable gold, investor Wagagai’s initial investment is USD50 million, 3,000 direct jobs.”
Over 3,000 jobs to be generated
According to the Ugandan government, the value of 31 million tonnes of gold ore stands at $12.8 trillion. The tweet said refining gold locally can lead to the generation of 3,000 direct jobs and other opportunities. The government predicts that local mining can boost the country’s economy in a big way.
As per reports, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has called for the local refinement of the discovered gold, calling any external refinery ‘criminal’.
The President said: “It is criminal for anybody to argue for the continued exports of raw materials in Africa when there is 90% more value in that product that you are giving to the outsiders.”
Quoting the general manager of Wagagai, media reports said the company’s investment has reached $60 million. The company faced a delay in construction as it needed two licences – a gold production license it obtained in March and a 21-year lease to mine gold in the country.
Chinese firm begins work
As per reports, the Chinese firm has invested $200 million in constructing a refining facility. According to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Solomon Muyita, the Chinese-run firm expects to mine and start refining around 5,000 kg of gold a day in Busia by the end of the year.
Uganda’s gold exports have reportedly been on the rise since the opening of the Africa Gold Refinery in Entebbe. Pointing to six local gold refineries, the President has said that the time for Uganda to ship unprocessed raw gold exports is at its end. The Africa Gold Refinery in Entebbe was sanctioned by the US over alleged illicit gold sourcing.