Old mining law will work until Museveni signs new one – Energy minister

Ruth Nankabirwa, the minister for Energy and Mineral Development, said that as parliament waits for President Museveni to assent to the new Mining and Minerals Bill 2021, the old bill will be used in developing the rare earth metal mining project in Busoga region.

Mining activities in Uganda to be regulated

“According to the Constitution, the old Act is still working. You follow the old law until the new one comes. The old Act will stop working after the president has signed the new bill. However, we found out that in the old Act, we had to change some few clauses such as percentage sharing of royalties, between the local leaders, landowners and local government,” she said.

Nankabirwa added that they are not operating without the law. Also, she said the issue of who gets what out of the mining is being handled.

“I don’t want to talk so much on the new bill for fear of contradicting myself, in case my boss returns the bill in parliament on certain clauses. But what I know, on royalties, it’s not something he is contesting,” she said.

“We thought the president was going to sign this law quickly but unfortunately, this is the area where he (President) is also widely consulting. However, the companies with licenses to do this project are also on our backs. They have financiers and want to move to the next step,” she said of the investors behind the rare earths project.

Nankabirwa said the developers are interested in the minerals and not the land. After mining, they will prepare it for agricultural development and urge people to resettle in their areas.

“After compensation, the affected persons will temporarily be relocated so that they remain neighbours as they were before. And after excavation of minerals, the families will be resettled in decent houses that the company will construct, depending on the agreement made with them,” she said.

Nankabirwa said this recently at Makuutu village, Bugweri district while sensitising residents on the eviction and compensation processes under customary land laws,

About 5,000 households in parts of Busoga sub-region will be evicted and compensated to pave way for a multi-billion rare earth mining project.

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