The government of Uganda has announced plans to gazette sand and other construction materials such as murrum as minerals. The State for Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris said the move aims to generate revenue for the country.
Mr Peter Lokeris, while appearing before Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee said the government wants to regulate the extraction and export of the resources by foreign-based companies.
“Sometimes there are mining substances such as sand, murram. How do we regulate these? You have heard from people in Lwera that some companies went there and have got sand. When we said sand is a mineral, we weren’t backed by the Constitution. These stones for building have commercial purposes. Should we just leave people to sell them outside the country or government should get something out of it?” Mr Lokeris said.
Mining and Minerals Bill 2021
The minister was presenting proposals that the government wants to effect in the Mining and Minerals Bill, 2021, which is currently under scrutiny by the committee chaired by Dr Emmanuel Otaala (West Budama South). His response followed inquiries from Ms Flora Natumanya (Kikuube Woman), and Mr Otaala about what the government would do to reduce the rate at which sand deposits are being exploited. Mr Lokeris said they would require approval of Cabinet and Parliament first.
The Bill proposes that a person who conducts prospecting, exploration, mining, processing, refining or other beneficiation operation under Uganda’s jurisdiction without an authorization shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both .