Premier stops mining firm in Eastern Uganda

The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, has directed a halt to activities by Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited to mine rare earth minerals in the country.

She has also directed the Minister for Energy and Minerals to travel to the districts of Bugweri, Mayuge and Bugiri to establish the facts.

“Government has come up with a policy to add value to all minerals in the country so that we can have employment for our people,” Nabbanja said.

Nabbanja said this in response to Bugweri district Woman MP, Hon. Rachel Magoola’s concerns that government is not visible in educating the residents in the three districts about rare earth minerals and the presence of the alien company on ground.

While raising the matter of national importance on Thursday, 12 May 2022, Magoola said there were also potential land conflicts brewing due to potential sale of land purported to host the rare minerals.

“The locals have been given a timeline of one month to sign MoUs of their land to an organisation which they are worried about. My prayer is that the ministry comes out and introduces these people officially,” she said.

The Prime Minister’s directive also followed Magoola’s request for stop to interactions between Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited and the residents of the district in which the rare minerals are said to have been discovered.

“It is causing a lot of anxiety and families are fighting against each other over the idea that land is going to be sold for a lot of money. We need protection of the community from this company,” Magoola added.

According to the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines, Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited was licensed to conduct exploration in the Busoga sub region, where most of Uganda’s deposits lie.

Such rare earth minerals include cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium and lanthanum.