Uganda reveals discovery of gold deposits estimated at 31 million tonnes

Uganda’s mining industry has been boosted by news of the discovery of around 31 million tonnes of gold, following the completion of exploration surveys right across the East African country.

Aerial exploration, including geophysical and geochemical surveys and analyses, was conducted over the last two years, with the majority of the deposits found in Karamoja, near the Kenyan border in the Northeast. Large reserves were also found in Eastern, central, and Western areas of Uganda.

The game-changing discoveries were announced by spokesperson for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Solomon Muyita, who said an estimated 320,158 tonnes of refined gold could be extracted from the 31 million tonnes of ore.

Until now, Uganda’s gold industry has been typified by artisanal mining or small, wildcat miners, but the government hopes that the newly discovered gold volumes will bring major economic gains to the country.

A Chinese company called Wagagai has already constructed a gold mine in Eastern Uganda with an estimated 12.5 tonnes of mineable gold. The firm obtained a production licence in March and expects to begin producing gold in July 2023.

The project also includes a gold refining unit, which is valued at US$200 million. Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni recently called for the local refinement of the commodity: “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” he said.

Earlier this year, Uganda’s Parliament enacted a new mining law that, once signed by Museveni, will pave the way for the creation of a state mining company which will hold a compulsory 15% stake in every mining operation.