Online mining cadaster transaction portal reopens, aligned with new law

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The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has reopened the online mining cadaster transactional portal after aligning it with the Mining and Minerals Act 2022.

The portal, which was established in 2019 to manage mineral rights  including licensing, communication, reporting and payments, had been temporarily closed to upgrade it to the new Mining and Minerals Act 2022.

According to the Status of Uganda’s Mineral Development Programme Ministerial Statement, the online mineral licensing system will ease business for mineral rights holders by ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector.

The online mineral licensing system will particularly ease processes for miners who are based upcountry by eliminating costs of having to physically travel to Entebbe to transact.

Josephine Aguttu, the Tiira Artisanal and Small-scale Miners secretary, however says they have previously had issues working with the system and were still forced to go the ministry to seek help.

“The system was slow and did not give any clarification when you submitted inquiries. We were trying to process a license and had to go to the Directorate. They kept telling us it was the Commissioner (of Mines) to help us,” Aguttu told this publication.

Emmanuel Kibirige, the Coordinator of the national artisanal and small scale miners’ body though differed in opinion, noting that the system eased their work and reduced costs of processing licenses.

There is also concern among miners surrounding the new licensing regime on whether the existing Location Licenses will be upgraded to Artisanal and Small-scale mining licenses.

An official at the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines however noted that the issue of technical glitches will be sorted as software is continuously updated and the system will eventually stabilize. He noted that what stands out is that the system is aligned with the new Mining and Minerals Act 2022.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) and the Attorney General’s Office, have commenced the development of regulations to operationalise the provisions of the Mining and Minerals Act 2022, according to the statement.

The Act includes provisions such as regulation of artisanal mining, competitive bidding for mineral licenses, exploration for geothermal resources and their direct uses, state equity participation and establishing a state-owned mining company to cater for the state’s commercial interests in mining.

An inter-ministerial committee has also been set up to commence the establishment of the National Mining Company to manage Government’s commercial interests in strategic minerals.

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