Source: Department Geological Survey and Mines。1. Background to the Mineral Sector
Uganda lies within the African Plate which is a continental crust. Precambrian rocks ranging from Achaean, Lower Proterozoic to Middle Proterozoic (4500 - 600 Million Years) dominate the geology. Close to the eastern border with Kenya, lies a number of Cretaceous to Miocene (145.5 - 5.3 Million Years) intrusive alkaline carbonatite complexes. The Rift Valley contains Cenozoic (65 - 0.01 Million Years) to Recent sediments up to 4000 metres thick. These rocks are endowed with a wide variety of minerals as evidenced by past mining records and the numerous mineral occurrences in many parts of the country.

The mining industry in Uganda reached peak levels in the 1950’s and 1960’s when the sector accounted for up to 30% of Uganda’s export earnings. However, political and economic instability experienced in the country in the 1970’s and the recent global economic slowdown led the sector to decline drastically. Currently, the energy sector’s contribution to total GDP, at current prices, was the lowest in (Financial Year) FY2009/2010 with a share of only 0.3 percent. It should be noted therefore that the decline is not a result of resource depletion but rather due to the bad governance at one time but recently due to poor world prices of cobalt and copper, among others.

The period after 1986 has been marked by a favourable business climate in Uganda and many mining companies have taken up licenses in the mining sector. Over the last ten years the sector has been growing positively with growth rates peaking 19.4% in FY 2006/07. In FY 2009/2010, the sector grew by 12.8%. In terms of licenses taken, in 1999 there were 66 licenses issued in the exploration and mining license categories combined; by the beginning of 2010 there was a total of 517 licenses issued. Table 1 gives a breakdown of the categories of these licenses between January and December 2009.

Table 1: Mineral Licensing Status January – December, 2009

These licenses cover the entire country but are generally concentrated in the more prospective areas in southwest and southeast Uganda. The fact that parts of north and central Uganda are to some extent under forest cover and at the same time have thick soils as a result of tropical weathering, limited geological data render them not conducive for mineral investment.

2. Investment Opportunities in the Mineral Sector
The principal minerals that have been mined in the past, or are being mined at present or are known to occur are discussed below, and the mineral occurrence map (Appendix 3) shows their locations. In broad terms they can be divided into metallic and non-metallic minerals which investors can prospect and mine.

2.1. Metallic Minerals
Beryl: Beryl is the main mineral from which the metal beryllium is extracted. It is associated with pegmatites, mainly in Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Kanungu and Rukungiri districts, but also at Mbale Estate and Lunya in Mubende and Mukono districts respectively. At one time in the early 1960's Uganda's beryl production accounted for 10% of world production. Production came mainly from Mutaka in Bushenyi district, Kazumu in Ntungamo districts and Bulema and Ishasha in Kanungu district. The deposits at Ishasha have the largest known potential.

Uses: Beryllium metal is used in making lightweight metal alloys for aircraft and in nuclear reactors. The coloured (green) variety as emerald is a precious stone, but yet to be discovered in Uganda.

Bismuth (bismutite): occurs in association with native gold and wolframite at Rwanzu in Kisoro district; Kitahurira in Kabale district; Kitwa and Muramba in Kanungu district.

Uses: Bismuth is used in making special alloy steel.

Chromium (chromite): Chromite prospects are found in chlorite schists at Nakiloro located 16 km NE of Moroto town. The chromite here is associated with platinum, a precious metal. There has been no chromite production to-date in Uganda.

Uses: Chromium is used in making special alloy steels and for chrome coating. Chromite as an industrial mineral is used in metallurgical processing and in furnaces as a refractory.

Copper-Cobalt: Copper has been found at several localities in Uganda but the only significant deposit discovered to-date has been at Kilembe, where copper-cobalt sulphide mineralization occurs. The other areas where copper mineralization has been noted are Bobong in Karamoja region and Kampono and Kitaka in Mbarara district. Copper is also reported in Buhweju, Bushenyi district.

Although copper was first reported at Kilembe in 1908, the deposit was not brought into production until 1956 on completion of the railway line to Kasese. Between 1957 and 1979 a total of 16.29 million tons ore averaging 1.95% Cu and 0.18% Co were mined and treated to yield 217,000 tons of blister copper which was exported, plus 1.1 million tons of cobaltiferous pyrite (iron sulphide) which was stockpiled. The Kasese Cobalt Company has installed a 1,000-ton per year cobalt plant and is processing the stockpile of pyrite concentrates.