Uganda set to join elite club of rare earth minerals producers

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The Chief Executive Officer Rwenzori Rare Metals, Warren Tregurtha, says the much anticipated Makuutu rare earths project is a good project that seeks to develop an economically viable, environmentally friendly and sustainable rare earth pool.

Speaking to this publication at the public hearings on the Makuutu Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report in Buwaya Sub County in Mayuge district, Tregurtha noted that whilst it is not the biggest or best project of rare earths there is, it is a good project for the country’s national development plans and the host community too.

“This is not the best project or the biggest, but it is a good project. There’s lots of other rare earth projects out there. Ours is to demonstrate to the world that even countries like Uganda can benefit from their resources,” he told this publication.

There is a global rush for critical minerals in the face of a growing smart technology and green energy era. By their nature, the minerals are geographically concentrated, with Africa being a key target for the developed economies. China accounts for 70% of global rare earths production.

Patience Singo, the Country Director, Rwenzori Rare Metals that is developing the Makuutu project, noted during the Buwaya event that the world has always looked to China that dominates the REE production, but this project would now position Uganda as a global mining investment destination.

The Makutu-based Rwenzori Rare Metals REE project is projected to generate up to $7.6 billion in revenues over its 27-year lifetime and produce an estimated 1,200 jobs. The project is also touted to address the challenge of rudimentary mining methods and informality in the mining sector by adopting best practices.

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