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Reporting Mining: A Journalist’s Handbook

First published in 2018 by African Centre for Media Excellence

Plot 124 Nanjala Road (Bunga-Soya), off Ggaba Road
P. O. Box 11283 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 393 202 351
Facebook: ACME.UG
Twitter: @ACME_Uganda

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Book layout and design by Carolyne Nakku

Printed and bound by Sidopress Solutions
Plot M779, Spring Road, Bugolobi Kampala, Uganda

First Edition

Preface 02
The mining beat 04
The extractive industry value chain 07
Africa’s evolving mining sector 18
Policy issues, principles and objectives of 23
Uganda’s mining and mineral policy
The place of mining and minerals in 36
Uganda’s national development plans

Using data to tell the mining story 41

The law and access to land for mineral 43

development in Uganda

Pitching your story 48


This handbook is part of the outputs of the Knowledge-Based Journalism (KBJ)

Programme, which African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has been running since
2014 with support from the Ford Foundation eastern Africa office.
That programme started on the premise that although the last decade had seen some
notable improvements in our journalism, a combination of structural and professional
challenges continued to impede the potential of Ugandan or even the region’s media
to inform and engage the public on the critical issues of the day. While today’s
global information ecology, powered by the proliferation of new information and
communication technologies, has made it possible for the public to have access to vast
amounts of information, questions still arise on whether our journalists that can help
citizens make better sense of what is unfolding before them. Although today’s journalists
are better trained than those before them, many still lack the specialised knowledge
and skills required to interrogate and convey to the public the profound changes and
challenges of our times - social injustice, economic inequality, a surging population,
environmental degradation, global warming, poor service delivery, unemployment,
uncertain democratisation, post-conflict management, regional integration, and so on -
in a manner that may provoke thoughtful national debate.
We commend those that have committed themselves to producing the quality journalism
that democracy demands of the media.
We recognise that although the region’s newsrooms increasingly employ journalists who
have graduated from university, very few of them come with specialised knowledge
of important fields such as agriculture; business, finance, and economics; energy,
petroleum, and mining; land and environment; health, science and technology; rights,
rule of law and justice; peace and conflict resolution. Many of them quickly turn into
general reporters who very often jump from one issue to another without any adequate
technical knowledge about the immediate developments/events they report on.
Borrowing the words of American political communication scholar Thomas Patterson,
we have consistently argued that “the surest way to improve the accuracy of news”
and “heighten its contribution to the public understanding of public affairs” is “for
journalists to make fuller use of knowledge”. Indeed, knowledge is key to strengthening
story context. “For almost any development of even modest complexity, journalists
cannot be counted upon to construct ‘a comprehensive and intelligent account’ unless
they are knowledgeable of the underlying factors.”
ACME’s KBJ programme has worked on this logic to train more than 200 journalists on
deepening their knowledge and skills in covering public affairs beats including arts and
culture, agriculture, education, energy, health, land, mining, oil and gas, as well as the
overarching area of public policy.


A series of reporting handbooks completes our support package, which has also included
the provision of a host of reporting tools and resources online, reporting grants, as well
as mentoring.
The series includes handbooks on reporting agriculture, education, energy, land, mining,
and public policy.
This handbook on reporting mining focuses on the basics of the mining beat — the legal
and regulatory framework, the value chain, the place of mining in Uganda’s development
plans, and “Africa’s mining vision”. Most of the essays end with or include story tips or
questions that can be posed to generate story ideas. The booklet also includes an essay
on how to make the best use of data from/on the mining sector, as well as a template on
how to pitch winning public affairs story ideas.
Most of the essays included here are from presentations made during training workshops
at ACME between 2016 and 2018.
We would like to thank Bwesigye Don Binyina, a mineral and energy policy analyst
from the African Centre for Energy and Mineral Policy, who was the lead facilitator
at the training workshops; Vincent Kato, an assistant commissioner in the Ministry of
Energy and Mineral Development; David Sebaggala, a senior inspector of mines at the
Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines; and Gabriel Data, senior geologist from the
same directorate; Denis Kusaasira, the managing partner at ABMAK law firm; Dr Paul
Bagabo from the Natural Resource Governance Institute; journalist Lydia Namubiru; as
well as Daniel Franks, Caroline Ngonze, and Hope Kyarisiima from the United Nations
Development Programme, Kampala.
We would also like to thank media and communication consultant George Lugalambi,
formerly of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, for the writing and editing;
ACME’s director of programmes, Bernard Tabaire, who coordinates our extractives
reporting work; and ACME’s training director, Rachel Mugarura-Mutana, who oversees
the KBJ programme.
Although most of the examples are drawn from Uganda, journalists in the region will
equally find the handbook useful.

Peter G. Mwesige, Ph.D.

Executive Director, ACME
Kampala, June 2018

The mining beat

By ACME Team

Although mining remains underreported in Uganda, there is growing interest in the

sector. The resurgence in the global commodities trade, interest in development minerals,
the social, economic, and human rights issues arising from expanding artisanal mining,
as well as the increasing availability of data on the sector all make mining an attractive
When most people, including many journalists think about mining, they usually have in
mind the high value metals and energy minerals sectors (aluminium, cobalt, copper, gold,
diamond, iron ore, uranium, etc.) Often ignored are low value minerals such as stone
aggregate, sand, clay, and dimension stones. Yet, this sector constitutes the majority of
global mining. Metals make up a minority of global commodities by production, volume
and value. The majority of mineral commodities is not exported and often attracts
little attention especially in the media. For instance, before the Chinese foray into sand
mining in Lwera near Masaka and perhaps the occasional warnings to sand miners from
environmentalists and authorities, little attention was paid to the development mineral
called sand. Even less attention has been paid to stone aggregate and clay.
The point is that the mining beat comprises both high value metal minerals that often
attract big multi-national mining companies and the low value but high volume
development minerals that are mostly used locally and are a source of employment for
tens of thousands of people.
For the metal mineral sector that has historically taken the lion’s share of media attention,
the beat focuses on both licensed formal mining which is characterised by exploration,
mining, processing, smelting/refining on a large scale and artisanal and small scale
mining, which takes place outside formal regulations.
The mining beat reporter should take a keen interest in and understand the policies,
legislation and regulations governing the sector. Are they up-to-date? Are they
adequate? Whose interests do they serve? Are they followed by all players? Are the laws
and regulations consistent with the policies?
The players should also attract adequate attention. What companies are involved in
exploration or production? Which others are interesting in joining the fray? What is
their track record? What about the other players? Which government agencies oversee
the sector? How are they executing their duties? What do they make of the state of the
sector? What about civil society — which groups are involved in monitoring the sector?
What are they saying?


Although contracts and licences are usually hidden from public view, they are a very
good subject of mining stories. What kind of contracts are in place? Who do they favour?
Or are they fair to all parties? Are they consistent with the mining policy and related
legislation? How do they compare to contracts from other jurisdictions with mineral
resources? Who has been licensed? What types of licenses have been issued? Uganda has
prospecting, exploration, retention, mining, and location licences. Do companies respect
the provisions of their licences, or do they, for instance, end up taking up more than what
is covered under their terms?

The exploration stage of the mining value chain is another major part of the beat.
Where is exploration on-going? What minerals are targeted? Are the deposits
commercially viable? Is the exploration under formal or artisanal small-scale
mining? Is it done under the law?
The actual mining, of course, is central to the beat. How are the mines managed?
What are the sizes of the different operations? Is whatever is going on under the
Then there is the beneficiation stage, which includes mineral processing. Who is
involved? What are the volumes?


An even bigger area of focus should be the revenue. Where is the money? Who is getting
what? What are the companies taking away? What is the government keeping? How is
the government using the money? Is it following the laws and regulations?
Local and national content is a major part of Uganda’s policies on extractives. It refers
to the participation of Ugandans and Ugandan firms in the supply of works, goods and
services to the extractives sector. How many Ugandans are employed by the mining
sector? How many foreigners are employed? Do they have expertise or qualifications or
experience that Ugandans don’t have? Which Ugandan companies are involved in the
sector? How is local or national content monitored? What is changing (or not changing)?
The mining beat reporter will inevitably cross paths with issues that preoccupy the
environmental reporter. Were environmental impact assessments (EIAs) conducted?
What adverse environmental effects are expected from the exploration, mining,
processing, as well as smelting and/or refining? What is being done to mitigate these
impacts? Is it adequate? Is it consistent with what was covered in the EIAs?
The human rights angle is equally important in the mining beat. In particular, the rights
of people or communities in the areas where exploration and mining is taking place
deserve adequate attention. For instance, are those who are displaced or relocated by
mining activity promptly and adequately compensated? Do they give their informed
consent before handing over their land? Are they treated in accordance with the law?
Are nearby communities protected? Issues to do with child labour, abuse of women and
other forms of exploitation of minorities should be covered emphatically.
Livelihood issues are as important to the mining beat as the policy, legal, regulatory,
technical, and environmental areas outlined above. How do the people or communities
live? How do they cope? Are children going to school? Are families still joined together?
Finally, like all other sectors, mining is ultimately about people. It is not about the
science, the geology, or economics. How are real people affected by what is going on
(or not)? The smart reporter will approach the most complex of mining beat issues
through personalising and humanising them. He or she will enrich stories through
providing a diversity of voices, including those of ordinary people, not only company
and government officials.

Overall, it is not enough to report what is happening or not happening in the

different aspects of the mining beat outlined above. The most critical question
that the mining reporter, like all other journalists, should answer is: “so what?”
Why does this matter? What’s its significance?


The extractive industry value chain
By George Lugalambi

The fundamentals
To secure the greatest benefit for citizens, effective management of extractive resources
starts with the implementation of a series of vital preliminary procedures led or overseen
by the government, with the active and open participation of an informed public.
These procedures are intended “to ensure exploration and production operations are
carried out efficiently within a comprehensive national strategy and to establish a legal
and regulatory framework as far in advance as possible”1.
Thinking long term
Decisions about the management of extractive resources ought to be guided by a
national strategy. Such a strategy defines the comprehensive framework that sets out
how the resources are to be exploited and shared for the benefit of the present and future
generations of citizens. Without such a strategy, decisions can be ad hoc, unhelpfully
expedient, inconsistent, and narrowly focused on immediate gains.
The Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2018 states that the overall goal is “to
develop the mining industry through increased investment, value addition, national
participation and revenue generation to contribute significantly to socio-economic
transformation and poverty eradication”2.
The guiding principles for the policy are: strengthening the legal and regulatory
framework for the mining industry; promoting transparency, accountability and public
participation in management of mineral revenues; enhancing geodetic acquisition and

1. Natural Resource Governance Institute (2014). Natural Resource Charter, Second Edition, page 13.
2. The Republic of Uganda. Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (2018). The Mining and
Mineral Policy for Uganda, page 20.


promotion of investment in the subsector; strengthening institutional capacity of the
agencies responsible for mineral exploration and mining; supporting formalisation and
regulation of artisanal and small scale mining (ASM); enhancing sound health, safety
and environmental protection in the mining industry; mainstreaming gender, equity,
human rights and inclusiveness in the mining industry; promoting mineral value
addition; and enhancing local and national participation.

Public participation
To enjoy wide and sustained legitimacy among the population, the development of
a national strategy should be inclusive and participatory. In fact, the strategy is more
likely to succeed if it is based on a broad consensus that reflects the voices, desires,
and expectations of citizens and stakeholders with legitimate interests. An informed and
active citizenry — represented by well organised interest groups across the spectrum
of non-state actors and stakeholders, including project affected people — plays an
indispensable role of holding the government and decision makers accountable.
Comprehensive approach
The government is in a better position to come up with and implement quality decisions
and initiatives in the extractive sector if it is guided by a comprehensive framework.
First, such a framework gives the government a 360-degree understanding of the
operating context. Second, a comprehensive approach enables the government to link
the upstream, midstream, and downstream decisions, environmental and social issues,
revenue and fiscal issues, and the overall national development plan for the country.
For this to happen, there needs to be a proper coordination mechanism within the
government that provides strategic direction and harmonises the roles, mandates, and
interests of the various ministries, departments, and agencies involved.

Extractive industry value chain


Deciding whether to extract
The decision to undertake exploration and extract natural resources has to be driven by
a rigorous analysis of the costs and benefits. Potential negative impacts may outweigh
the benefits to the host communities and regions or the country at large. In addition to
economic and technical studies to determine whether extraction is justified, social and
environmental impact assessments are essential to understand how best to mitigate the
risks and potential adverse impacts of extraction of resources on the economy, people, and
the environment.
Equally important is the government’s institutional capacity to manage the value chain
and the economy’s readiness to absorb what are usually large revenues and windfalls.
If the level of preparedness is inadequate, appropriate measures need to be designed to
quickly bring the country to the required minimum state of readiness.

Thinking strategic amidst uncertainty

The decision to extract implies that the government must also make many related decisions,
for example, in regard to contracting and licensing, taxation and fiscal management,
as well as laws and regulations to govern the extractive processes at different points of
the value chain. All these provisions need to be in place before contracts are signed and
licenses awarded to companies. Yet these decisions typically happen in a situation of
uncertainty about many factors, including commodity prices. Best practice demands that
the government starts early to figure out the strategy that will guide its decision making,
while remaining reasonably flexible and adaptable to changes in the operating context.
From strategy to governance
The guiding principles such as those that undergird the Mining and Mineral Policy for
Uganda have to be translated into a clear framework of rules. The institutional framework
that the government puts in place will depend on the state and dynamics of the country’s
extractive sector as well as its economy and political context.
Best practice dictates that to the extent possible, the government sets up the legal and
regulatory framework before awarding contracts and licenses. The rules will not provide
for every aspect of the extractive process from the start, so the governance system will
have to grow as the sector grows and evolves. Having as much of the legal and regulatory
framework defined in advance is important for several reasons: it levels the playing field
for all actors; it instils confidence among companies and investors; and conveys a sense
of certainty and predictability about the rules all the players will be operating under.
Moreover, the government has to strike a balance between which rules to codify into law
and which ones to prescribe in the form of regulations to be designed, monitored, and
enforced by government ministries, departments, and agencies.


Institutions are the heart of governance
Institutions with the competence and integrity to design, administer, and enforce the rules
have to be created. The government has to assign clear mandates to each of the institutions
in line with the national policy goals and objectives. While complementary at the macro
level, the roles of each institution must be clearly articulated to avoid conflicts of interest,
turf wars, and loopholes in administration. The law has to be clear about who has
responsibility to make, to administer, and to enforce the rules. Similarly, the law has to
provide a mechanism to ensure public and executive oversight of the actions of these
institutions and the individuals who run their affairs.

Reporter’s Notes
• Is there a national strategy/policy that provides a comprehensive framework
on how the extractive resources are to be exploited and revenues shared?
• Was the strategy or policy developed in an inclusive and participatory
• Is a legal and regulatory framework already in place?
• Did the public support the decision to extract or not to extract?
• Were social and environmental impact assessments carried out to
understand how best to mitigate the risks and potential adverse impacts
of extraction?
• Have environmental and social costs actually been mitigated? If so, how?
• Are communities aware of the risks and potential impacts of extraction?
• Are communities aware of what to do in the event of, say, accidents?
• Does the company regularly inform the local communities and leaders
about its own environmental and social safety standards?
• Has the government negotiated the best fiscal terms for the public good?
• Who is doing what at the institutional level?

Award of contracts and licences

The award of contracts and licences to explore for extractive resources and to undertake
production operations — referred to as the allocation of rights — is fundamentally about
deciding who should undertake these operations and under what terms.
If the government invites private companies to participate, it can go the route of direct
negotiations on a licence-by-licence basis or it can employ competitive bidding through


Licensing rounds and auctions
If well designed, auctions are considered the better option as they are likely to deliver
greater value and to fortify the government against the international companies’ superior
access to information. Auctions are said to be more successful when at least three
bidders are involved, and are deemed to be more transparent and less risky than direct
negotiations. However, a competitive allocation process is not ideal in a situation where
there is limited interest from bidders. Where meaningful competition is absent, licensing
rounds based on strict minimum technical criteria for participation are preferable.
Whichever route the government opts for in allocating exploration and extractive rights,
it will be in a stronger bargaining position if it follows certain best practices including:3
(i) Full disclosure of all information on allocation procedures, the contracts awarded
and their fiscal and tax terms, the beneficial ownership of licence holders, the agreed
work programme, the financial commitments, and any fiscal terms specific to the
(ii) Pre-qualification of potential bidders to ensure that all participating firms possess
the necessary technical and financial capacities and experience in operating
extractive resource development projects.
(iii) Restricting the bidding terms to a small number of criteria that are comparable
across bids beyond the price such as the proposed development programme,
signature bonuses, local content, etc. The more parameters the more complex and
costly and the less transparent the evaluation process is likely to be.
(iv) Avoiding the need to negotiate terms after bidding by ensuring that the bid terms
are clear and transparent and through the use of model contracts.
(v) Careful scrutiny of the value of services or infrastructure offered in exchange for
extraction rights. In cases of significant uncertainty, such arrangements are better
avoided as they open room for abuse.

3. Natural Resource Charter, Second Edition, page 14.


Reporter’s Notes
• What method was or will be used to award the contract/licence?
• What is the legal basis for the contract/licence?
• What evidence is available of the process used to award the contract/licence?
• Is/was the process transparent?
• Was there full disclosure of all relevant information as specified in (i) above?
• What evidence is available that all potential bidders qualify to participate
in the bidding?
• What are the bidding criteria and what evidence is available that they were
adhered to?
• What due diligence was undertaken on the bidding firms?
• What can you find out about the track record of each bidder?
• Is the government getting the best deal on behalf of the public?

Regulation and monitoring of operations

Contract or licence holders — whether in mining or oil and gas sectors — will now
proceed to execute their work programmes. After discovery of commercially viable
reserves and undertaking the necessary appraisal work, they will draw up and submit
their development plans to the government’s authorising agencies for approval. In
Uganda these include the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (specifically
the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines in the case of mining and the Directorate
of Petroleum and the Petroleum Authority of Uganda in the case of oil and gas). Some
decisions may need to be ratified by parliament and some at the highest executive level
of government.
The regulatory and monitoring functions involve ensuring that the development plans
are cost effective and comply with the government’s policy objectives and rules as they
apply to extraction of oil, gas, and mineral resources. These include provisions and
standards related to infrastructure, health, safety, environment, national participation,
employment, decommissioning, and restoration of project sites after the termination of
all operations.
To sustain confidence in the sector, the government needs to ensure a level playing
field for all participants, and to guarantee that the country gets the best value for its
resources, the government has to review companies’ plans thoroughly, promptly, and in
conformity with all the contractual obligations. Therefore, adequate technical expertise


has to be available at the right time as regulatory delays can be costly to the taxpayer.
The regulatory process too has to be efficient, predictable, and properly coordinated
among all government institutions involved.
A key aspect of the regulation and monitoring function is to maintain accounts of the
physical resource base of the country’s extractive resources. This takes into account the
production volumes, the reserves, discoveries, and unexplored potential and provides
the basis for decision making about the sector.
When such accounts are understood in the context of information on resource revenues
and extraction costs, the emerging picture can help the government estimate the
future revenue to expect, determine how much it should save, and decide the pace
of exploration. From this vantage point, the government is in a better position to take
measures to maximise the country’s benefits from its resources.

Reporter’s Notes
• What is contained in the work programme of the contractor or licence holder?
• Are the development plans submitted by the contractor/licence holder
consistent with the government’s policy objectives?
• Are the plans consistent with international best practice?
• Has the government followed the procedures laid down in its regulations?
• What do the companies say about the regulations they are subjected to?
• How do civil society and the public view the regulations? Are they adequate
to ensure the achievement of the overall development goal?
• What is the government’s own assessment of anticipated revenues and
benefits to the country?

Collection of taxes and royalties

The system for determining and collecting taxes and royalties must consider the
nature of extractive resources, the uncertainties involved in their exploitation, and the
institutional capacities within the government.
Characteristics that define the extractive sector include:4
• Substantial ‘rents,’ that is, earnings which far exceed the returns needed to recover
costs and to give an investor the rate of return necessary to invest.


• Oil, gas, and mineral deposits do run out at some point. They do not last forever. They
are finite.
• The government is often at a disadvantage because potential investors usually have more
information than it does.
• Massive upfront costs coupled with a long resource exploitation period. This necessitates
long-term investment amidst substantial market, geological, and political uncertainties.
• Difficulty of exerting control over the collection of taxes and royalties because of the
challenges of accounting in and auditing of extractive activities.
With those factors in mind, the government should aim for a taxation system that gives
the country good returns for its resources and in reasonable time. Such a system should be
attractive to investors in the sector. It should also align with existing legal and constitutional
provisions as they may determine the permissible forms of ownership and taxation.
Two typical taxation models used in resource-rich countries are the “tax-and-royalty”
system commonly applied in mining and petroleum, and the “production-sharing”
arrangements typically applied in petroleum but equally relevant in mining.5
Under tax-and-royalty, “the investor makes a royalty payment to the government based
on output and is subject to ordinary income taxation on its profits”6.
Under production-sharing, “a portion of the output is reserved for the investor or contractor
for recovery of its costs (‘cost oil’) and the remainder (‘profit oil’) is split between the
investor and the government”7. Gas in this case could be substituted for oil if applicable.
The benefits of a royalty are that the government is guaranteed a revenue stream from the
start of production; and that the country earns a basic payment for its resource which also
covers the social costs of extraction.

5. Natural Resource Charter,

Second Edition, page 17.
6. Natural Resource Charter,
Second Edition, page 17.
7. Natural Resource Charter,
Second Edition, page 17.


Reporter’s Notes
• What is the legal basis for the taxation model used?
• What are the government’s revenue projections?
• What do the licence holders say about the taxation system in terms of
fairness and ease of compliance?
• How does the taxation system compare with those in other resource-rich
• Are there loopholes in the tax system? What are the views of independent
• What is the government’s record in collecting the taxes and royalties due
the country?
• Are the taxes and revenues collected accounted for in a transparent manner?
• Has the government joined the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative, a mechanism where civil society and other stakeholders have
oversight power on how government revenue receipts and company
payments are publicly reported?

Revenue management and allocation

The government has to decide how the revenues from resource extraction will be allocated
or distributed, and it can choose from any of such options as:
• Allocate revenues directly into national and sub-national budgets.
• Use them for resource dividends, which could be in the form of tax reductions and
transfer payments like welfare and subsidies.
• Contribute to pension and natural resource funds.
• Capitalise lending institutions.
• Retain for, or allocate to, a national petroleum or mining company.
In deciding how to distribute resource revenues, the government’s primary objectives
should be the “promotion of equity, both between generations, and across society” and
“efficient use of revenues to maximize welfare”9.
Inter-generational equity is about deciding how much of the revenues earned should
benefit citizens today, and how much should be invested for the benefit of future and
younger generations.

8. Natural Resource Charter, Second Edition, page 25.

9. Natural Resource Charter, Second Edition, page 25.


The decision ultimately hinges on the government’s estimates of the revenue available
to spend or save, and on the country’s rate of economic growth. The pace of growth will
determine the size of the income gap between the present and future generations. The
higher the present rate of growth, the wider is the gap likely to be between the current
and future generations. This implies that the government would need to spend more of
the resource revenues today to improve the welfare of the current generation of citizens.
The government’s revenue distribution policy also has to pay attention to equity across
today’s society. This is to ensure a fair distribution of benefits among different groups
and to ensure that those disadvantaged by such factors as gender, age, education, socio-
economic status, and income are given special consideration. Resource revenues may
therefore be used to support poorer citizens through mechanisms like direct cash transfers.

Reporter’s Notes
• What is the government’s policy on revenue distribution?
• What mechanisms have been put in place to implement the policy?
• How does the policy compare or contrast with those in other resource-
rich countries?
• Who are the winners and losers?
• Who takes what share?
• How does actual practice compare with the policy on paper?
• How are revenues actually managed in order to address the common
challenges associated with extractive industry revenues?
• Is the government “blowing” all the revenue or saving prudently?
• Does the government regularly report to the public how it is managing
extractive revenue funds?

Implementation of sustainable development policies and projects

“Resource extraction, and the investment and spending it generates, can often have the
indirect effect of driving up the costs of public investment to levels higher than global
norms. Proactive public policy can reduce these costs and improve the economy’s
capacity to absorb increased investment.”
Many resource-rich countries have found it difficult to achieve sustained growth that
is not dependent on resource extraction. Such growth has to be driven by an expansion
of private sector investment. The use of resource revenues to stimulate the domestic
economy requires a substantial amount of private sector investment.10

10. Natural Resource Charter, Second Edition, page 32.


It is important to manage public spending policies so that the inflow of resources does
not harm, but boosts, the economy. Improvements in the management of public spending
can be realised through an increase in the capacity to select suitable spending plans and
incentives for government institutions to make decisions free of political interference.
To ensure that development policies and projects are sustainable, the government needs to
build robust public financial management systems with the following features:
• Public, multi-year plans that allow coordination of spending projects, and greater certainty
for the private sector.
• Competitive, public and transparent procurement (if there is sufficient interest from
• Oversight and internal controls.
• Pre-approval measurement of the costs of major expenditures against their likely social
and economic benefits.
• Public, independent audits of spending projects, for both oversight and to help government
improve its spending processes.
• Expenditures made on-budget rather than through savings funds or equivalent
institutions, to ensure the official checks are applied.11

The mining value chain

Mining cap. goods Processing cap. goods Refining cap. goods Fabrication cap. goods
Expl. capital goods • Crusher/ mills • Rolling
• Geophsical • Drilling • Smelters
• Cutting • Hydromet plant • Furnaces • Moulding
• Drilling • Materials handling • Machining
• Survey, etc • Hauling • Electric winning calls
• Hoisting, etc • Furnaces, etc • Casters • Assembling

Exploration Mining Mineral Smelting Value

Processing and Refining Addition

Exploration services Mining services Processing services Refining services Value adding services
• GIS • Mine planning • Communication • Reductants • Design
• Analytical • Consumables/spares • Grinding media • Chemicals • Marketing
• Data processing • Sub-contracting • Chem/reagects • Assaying • Distribution
• Financing, etc • Financing • Process control • Services
• Analytical, etc • Analytical, etc

Source: Natural Resource Governance Institute

11. Natural Resource Charter, Second Edition, page 31.


Africa’s evolving mining sector

Excerpt from the AFRICA MINING VISION (February 2009). For full report: <http://>

The Africa Mining Vision was formulated by a taskforce jointly established by the African
Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, which also included representatives
from the African Mining Partnership (the intergovernmental forum of African ministers
responsible for mining), the African Development Bank, the UN Conference on Trade and
Development, and UN Industrial Development Organization.
Africa has long exploited its mineral resources. In fact, the oldest mines in the world are
to be found in Africa, for example the Ingwenya mine in Swaziland, which was exploited
20000 years ago for iron ochres for rock paintings.
In addition, there are thousands of ancient gold and base metal mines across the continent.
In general, these mines were integrated into the local pre-colonial economies, providing
essential raw materials and high value goods for trade (gold, copper). With European
colonial conquest, African mining became integrated into the economies of European
countries, providing raw material for their industrialisation.
With independence, Africa’s leaders became preoccupied with enhancing the contribution
of the minerals sector to the economic and social development of the continent. In the
1960’s and 70’s, in line with the then prevailing strong assertion of national sovereignty as
a follow-up to the end of colonialism, the dominant thinking was that this development
could be achieved only if the state had significant or, indeed, full ownership of mining
enterprises. That thinking led to the nationalisation of large private companies. In a
number of countries, such as Ghana, Guinea, and Zambia, the State took over control of
the industry. Hopes were raised that the nationalised sector would be the engine of growth
and rapid industrialisation, which would provide more significant economic benefits to
the nation and improve livelihoods of the people.
However, among others, the following factors contributed to the stagnation and, even,
decline of the nationalised mining industry: political interference in business decisions; lack
of or inadequate respect for managerial and technical expertise; low reinvestment leading to
capital consumption; inability to access finance; and depression of mineral prices.
By the late 1980’s, much of Africa’s mining industry was in a state of crisis and
This forced government attitudes to change. There was a fundamental paradigm shift
and redefinition of the role of state, from 100% ownership and control, to deregulation
and almost complete withdrawal. Many African countries embarked on a radical reform


process with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment to rehabilitate their moribund
minerals and mining sector. To this end, state enterprises were privatized and efforts and
resources were deployed to improve the investment climate. New mineral policies, and
legal, regulatory and administrative frameworks more favourable to private investors were
formulated and established. Emphasis was put on security of tenure and strengthening of
mineral rights. Comprehensive packages of incentives for the mining investor in terms of
reduced taxes and royalties were also approved.
Associated with a rise in mineral prices, this resulted in a mining boom, increased foreign
direct investment and an influx of mining capital, technology and skills.
However, by the late 1990s and at the start of the 21st Century, critics started to argue that
the resource boom and the ensuing efficiency gain and rise in export earnings in many
mineral economies in Africa were producing questionable welfare gains and development
outcomes. They considered most reforms narrow minded and more geared towards
attracting foreign investment and promoting exports and less towards fostering local
development. It was further argued that the reforms were sectoral-centred and did not
take into consideration macro-economic objectives that could spur broader developmental
objectives and that they only favoured FDI over local capital development.
Others pointed out that although the benefits of mining to certain national economies
could be evident, local costs (environmental impacts and social and cultural disruptions)
associated with mining especially to local communities were not being adequately
compensated for. Criticism was also vented on the magnitude of special incentives
offered to mining companies, which arguably reduce the share of rent on which African
governments depend to fund their social and development programmes.


There is also the argument that mining has not fulfilled its poverty reduction role and
poverty reduction has not been mainstreamed into mining policies, often due to weak
linkages into the local, regional and national economies.
The fact that most of the reform process was government-centered has also been a cause
of concern. It has been argued that as a reflection of asymmetrical power relations,
processes for communication, consultation and decision-making would tend to favor
bipolar initiatives (government and private sector) and outcomes and would not be
sufficiently representative and participatory. Thus, development outcomes could be
narrow-minded and only take into consideration government and mining companies’
perspectives, without due regard to the views and aspirations of local communities and
civil society at large.
In response to new pressures on the minerals industry for an equitable share of
benefits and maximisation of local impacts for sustainable development, the minerals
industry has started searching for a new social contract for mining that could result
in integrated development, with diverse economic linkages and increased social well-
being, livelihood security and reduced vulnerability of poor communities, but bearing
in mind the localised nature of mineral endowments which requires the balancing of
local benefits with sustainable national poverty alleviation strategies.
New contractual arrangements and legal instruments to facilitate increased participation
by local communities and other stakeholders, as well as new revenue (derived from
royalties, income tax, land tax and lease rents, etc) distribution mechanisms for sharing,
at local level, portions of centrally collected rents, are being considered as responses to the
challenges posed by this new development paradigm. With the same objective, trisector-


partnerships involving government, the private sector and local communities are being
tested to improve government, private sector and local community relations and the
social and development outcomes of mining at local level. The same applies to public
participation to secure consent for government and industry actions. However, within
any polity, a delicate balance has to be struck between resource rent disbursements to
resource-rich and resource-poor regions. Ultimately, both are served through investment
into physical and human infrastructure, to underpin future national competitiveness.
Some mining companies are departing from their previous approaches to development
and community relations, variably characterised as “strictly business”, and “practical
partnerships” to adopt “less instrumentalist and more holistic” corporate social
responsibility charters and development approaches that have a better potential to
significantly uplift and empower local communities. Also, there seems to be a broader
understanding that sustainable development in the mining sector means that mineral
development around the globe should be sustainable in environmental, economic and
social terms, taking into consideration market dynamics, technological innovation,
community involvement, health and safety, environmental impacts, and institutional
Thus, it is beginning to be understood by the corporate world that successful mining
companies and industries will be assessed according to a triple bottom line, namely
financial success, contribution to social and economic development, and environmental
stewardship. This principle guided the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in preparing
the mining and metals sector supplement of its reporting guidelines. The GRI guidelines
for mining were completed in 2004 and contain social, environmental and economic
indicators that cover several aspects including revenue capture, management and
distribution; value-added disaggregated to country level; compensation payments to
local communities; employee benefits beyond those legally mandated; and, description
of equal opportunity policies or programmes, to name a few. However, they are generally
silent on the integration of mining into the local and regional economies through making
the critical up-, down- and side-stream linkages.
Why the Africa mining vision?
The decolonisation of Africa unfortunately coincided with a drop in the global metal
intensity of use, as mentioned above. Since gaining independence, most African countries
have made little progress in integrating their mineral sectors into their local economies,
with a few notable exceptions. This was due in part to falling prices and inappropriate
policies. The Asian boom provides a new opportunity for Africa to integrate its mineral
sector into the local economies through creating the critical linkages. However, this
will not happen automatically and will require an African Mining Vision and a set of
appropriate strategies and interventions for the realization of that vision.
The key elements to an African Mining Vision, that uses mineral resources to catalyse


broad-based growth and development need to be, from looking at successful resource-
based development strategies elsewhere, the maximisation of the concomitant
opportunities offered by a mineral resource endowment, particularly the “deepening”
of the resources sector through the optimisation of linkages into the local economy.
The principal resource endowment opportunities are:
• Resource rents: The use of resource differential and windfall rents to improve the basic
physical and knowledge infrastructure of the nation through investment in physical
infrastructure and social & human infrastructure.
• Physical infrastructure: The collateral use of the high-rent resource infrastructure to open
up other resource potential (such as agriculture, forestry and tourism4), to access zones
of economic potential with lower returns (e.g. agriculture) that cannot afford their own
requisite infrastructure.
• Downstream value addition: The use of the locational advantage (CIF-FOB) of producing
crude resources to establish resource-processing industries (beneficiation) that could then
provide the feedstock for manufacturing and industrialisation.
• Upstream value-addition: The use of the relatively large resources sector market to develop
the resource supply/inputs sector (capital goods, consumables, services).
• Technology/product development: Resources exploitation technologies generally need
adaptation to local conditions (e.g. climate, mineralogy, terrain), which provide opportunities
for the development of niche technological competencies in the resource inputs sector. This
sector tends to be knowledge-intensive and accordingly needs “priming” through investment
in resources HRD and R&D. However, several studies have shown that it has the capacity
to later “reinvent” itself outside the resources sector through the lateral migration of
technological competencies to produce new products for other (non-resource) markets.


Policy issues, principles and objectives of
Uganda’s mining and mineral policy
From the Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2018

Key issues and challenges in the mining sector

Inadequate legal and regulatory framework: The current legal and regulatory framework
lacks alignment to the national development frameworks and the constitution. The legal and
regulatory framework is also out-dated. For instance, the Mining Act 2003 does not provide
for several minerals that are mined and quarried on commercial basis.
Inadequate funding and investment: The sector has been funded mainly by development
partners and private investors, with the government playing a limited role mainly in
exploration. As a result, there has been lack of comprehensive geological data. There has also
been inadequate modern equipment, modern infrastructure, and skilled personnel. This has
limited the development of the sector.
Inadequate mineral marketing: Inadequate strategies for marketing, branding and
promotion of minerals and mineral potential have affected the development of the
sector, including limiting the level of investment. For example, since the formulation
of the Mineral Policy of Uganda, 2001, which was replaced in 2018, there has been no
deliberate facilitation of marketing and promotion of mineral trade including access to
market information, buying centres, promotions, exhibitions and mineral auctions.
Conflicts arising from competing land uses: Disputes arising from access to land continue
to hamper exploration, investment and general mineral development. There is still no
streamlined government strategy for easy access and acquisition of land for mining projects.


Lack of clear mechanisms to enforce environmental obligations: There is still need to
harmonise and align the regulatory policies and practices in the country’s mining sector with
existing environmental legislation. The lack of mandatory requirements for environmental
performance bond and absence of an Environmental Restoration Fund as security for
compliance by mineral rights holders for decommissioning, restoration of derelict lands and
orderly post-mine closure greatly affects the environment hence its degradation.
Limited national and community participation in mineral development: The inherent
complexities of the mining industry coupled with inadequate financial, technological and
technical capacities often limit national/ local communities’ participation in mining ventures.
As such mining operations are still mainly controlled by foreign firms and individuals.
Insufficient royalties disbursed to districts and sub-counties that are unable to spur
long- term social and economic development of mineral host communities: The royalties
disbursed to the districts are low and not put to proper use. There is need for the government
to develop a mechanism to ensure that royalties are used by the local governments for health,
clean water supply, education, infrastructure development, inspection and monitoring of
mining activities, among others.
The large informal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sub-sector: Artisanal and
small-scale mining (ASM) has become a major phenomenon in the mining sector, employing
a large number of people in many areas of the country, mainly in panning for gold and
gemstone mining. Although ASM is an income generating activity benefiting low income
and vulnerable groups, the nature of their operations remain largely informal and illegal,
characterised by smuggling, tax evasion, health and safety risks, socio-cultural dislocations,
conflict among the mineral operators, loss of revenue, environmental degradation and a
variety of illicit activities. This is attributed to inadequacies in the regulatory framework.
Human rights, gender and child labour issues: Exploitation of minerals has often involved
women and children in large numbers. This is especially true for ASM where women and
children are heavily involved in the extractive activities. However, the industry rarely
recognises the special challenges that these groups face. In addition, are other violations of
human rights, including land rights and the right to life. Disruption of livelihoods, destruction
of heritage, historical and cultural sites are also major concerns.
Non-prioritisation of regional and international conventions, treaties, agreements,
protocols or other arrangements relating to the mining industry: Whereas Uganda is a
signatory to a number of international instruments such as the International Conference
on the Great Lakes Region’s Regional Certification Mechanism, Minamata Convention,
Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation,
among others, there is still low commitment in domesticating and implementing these
instruments applicable to the mining industry.
Lack of mineral value addition: Mineral ores in Uganda have been largely exported
unprocessed depriving the country of employment and revenue. There is need for a strategy
that governs mineral processing and beneficiation.


Regulation of building (development) minerals: Building minerals such as sand, clay,
murram and stone were largely unregulated under the Mining Policy of Uganda 2001 due
to a gap in the legal and regulatory framework. It has been established that the contribution
of these minerals far exceeds the contribution of gold (Baseline Assessment of Development
Minerals in Uganda, 2018).
Inadequate institutional and human capacity: Mineral exploration and mining is a highly
technical field that requires specialised skills, and well-structured and equipped institutions.
Until recently, data acquisition and regulation of the industry was administered by one
department (Mines and Geology) of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. This
arrangement undermined efficiency and effectiveness given different challenges arising
from the two respective mandates. Further, the existing institutional set-up lacks relevant
supporting institutions, thus inhibiting effective enforcement, compliance and service
delivery. In addition, government has not adequately invested in building human capacity
for the mining sector by establishing institutions for training in mining and related fields,
resulting in capacity gaps within the sub-sector.

Policy goals and objectives

The overall goal of the Mining and Mineral Policy is to develop the mining industry through
increased investment, value addition, national participation and revenue generation to
contribute significantly to socio-economic transformation and poverty eradication.
The objectives of the policy are:

i. To strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for the development of the mineral sector;
ii. To ensure efficient, equitable, accountable and transparent management of mineral revenues;
iii. To establish, manage and promote the country’s mineral potential;
iv. To enhance and strengthen the institutional capacity for effective governance of the mineral
v. To organize and legislate artisanal and small scale mining in Uganda;
vi. To promote and protect Health, Safety and Environment in the mineral industry;
vii. Provide a framework for gender mainstreaming, equity and human rights and eradication of
child labour in the mining industry;
viii. To provide a framework for marketing and value addition of minerals;
ix. To promote local content and national participation in the mineral industry; and
x. To promote regional and international cooperation.

Guiding principles in the mining policy

• Strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for the mining industry.
• Promoting transparency, accountability and public participation in management of
mineral revenues for improvement of livelihoods, creation of jobs, effective technology
transfer and generation of significant income for sustainable development in Uganda.


• Enhancing geodetic acquisition and promotion of investment in the sub-sector
through provision of accurate and timely geological data and information from
regular/ strategic airborne geo-physical survey in potentially rich areas.
• Strengthen institutional capacity (Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines) and
provide for other relevant institutions for optimum mineral exploration and mining
characterised by enhancing development of specialised skills, well-structured and
equipped institutions, and adequate investment/financing.
• Supporting the formalisation and regulation of the artisanal and small-scale mining
(ASM) industry.
• Enhancing sound health, safety and environmental protection in the mining industry to
avoid, minimize and mitigate health, safety and environmental impacts in exploration
and mining activities in accordance with existing relevant laws.
• Mainstreaming gender, equity, human rights and inclusiveness in the mining industry.
• Promoting mineral value addition and development through horizontal and vertical
linkages for transformation of the economy as envisioned in the vision 2040 of Uganda.
• Enhancing local and national participation in the mining industry.
• Commitment to a free enterprise market economy and regional and international

Strategic interventions
Objective 1 : To strengthen the legal and regulatory framework for the development of
the mineral sector.
Strategy 1 : Establish comprehensive, stable, transparent, efficient and effective regulatory
framework to maximize mineral development.
Key Actions:

i. Maintain and update a modern, computerised mining cadastre and registry system to
facilitate online applications, returns and payments;
ii. Put in place effective mechanisms to ensure efficient mineral resource management
and compliance in the sector;
iii. Legislate and regulate the commercial exploration, development and exploitation of
substances excluded from the definition of minerals in article 244 (5) of the Constitution of
1995 as amended in 2005;
iv. Guarantee security of tenure by granting licences for specified periods, which are subject to
the ‘use it or lose it’ principle through the enforcement of mandatory relinquishment, fines
and penalties to minimise passive speculation and hoarding practices;
v. Restrict the exploitation of rocks that are connected to ecological systems and those with
historical relevance and tourism importance; and
vi. Create an enabling environment that regulates the co-existence of mineral rights and other
land use rights.


Objective 2 : To ensure efficient, equitable, predictable, accountable and transparent
collection and management of mineral revenues.
Strategy 2 : Develop and implement a stable, transparent, predictable and competitive
fiscal regime to optimize collection and management of mineral revenues.
Key Actions:

i. Ensure that fiscal frameworks are harmonized with the prevailing international mining
industry fiscal regimes;
ii. Introduce electronic lodgment of royalty returns which includes standardised quarterly and
monthly reports;
iii. Ensure that royalties and other mineral revenues are spent on the development of durable and
wealth-creating socio-economic infrastructure both at central and local government level;
iv. Communicate effectively on mineral royalty sharing and disbursements;
v. Periodically audit mineral production and royalty returns submitted by mining companies; and
vi. Establish a Mineral Reserve Fund to store mineral revenues for creation of a permanent source
of wealth as a provision for intergenerational equity.

Objective 3 : To establish, manage and promote the country’s mineral potential.

Strategy 3 : Enhance collection and access to geological data.
Key Actions:

i. Ensure effective collection, analysis, archiving and dissemination of data and information
about the mining industry in Uganda;
ii. Ensure comprehensive airborne geo-physical survey, ground surveys to identify potential
mineralized zones;
iii. Undertake detailed exploration, evaluation and feasibility studies of mineral deposits;
iv. Establish and maintain national minerals databases and data management information
v. Put in place a framework for development of infrastructure that facilitates access to, and
eases exploitation of mineral wealth;
vi. Establish a mineral promotion and investment unit at DGSM;
vii. Establish and promote geo-sites and geo-parks to support the tourism sector;
viii. Domesticate an appropriate Code for assessment and valuation of mineral assets; and
ix. Establish a communication strategy for the mineral sector.

Objective 4 : To enhance and strengthen the institutional capacity for effective governance
of the mineral sector.
Strategy 4 : Strengthen and build institutional and human capacity for effective and
efficient governance and management of the mineral sector.


Key Actions:

i. Provide adequate funding and equipment to DGSM to efficiently carry out its mandate;
ii. Provide capacity building and skills development of government officials and stakeholders
in the mineral sector;
iii. Separate DGSM administrative functions of licensing from inspection and monitoring of
iv. Permit the DGSM to retain at source some of the funds generated from mineral exploration
and mining activities to strengthen the exploration, regulation, monitoring and inspection
functions of the DGSM;
v. Promote inter-agency collaboration and linkages;
vi. Provide adequate remuneration and incentives to motivate and retain staff responsible for
mining industry promotion and management;
vii. Establish and strengthen earthquake, landslides and other geo-hazard monitoring systems;
viii. Establish and equip institutions for quality vocational training and postgraduate
qualification apprenticeships;
ix. Enact a law regulating geo-scientists and its associate professionals; as well as set up a
professional registration body for geo-scientists in Uganda; and
x. Establish a unit in DGSM to coordinate and promote research and development.

Objective 5 : To organize and legislate artisanal and small-scale mining in Uganda.

Strategy 5 : Develop a framework for mainstreaming and formalising artisanal and small-
scale mining operations to support livelihoods and entrepreneurship.
Key Actions

i. Establish a framework for licensing, regulation and monitoring of ASM activities;

ii. Register and encourage ASM to form associations for their operations;
iii. Map and demarcate areas for ASM;
iv. Ensure that artisanal mining is a preserve for Ugandan citizens and encourage joint
ventures for small-scale mining operations;
v. Provide extension services and technical assistance to ASM and other mining communities
in adopting safe, environmentally and socially acceptable mining and processing practices.
vi. Establish buying centres for mineral commodities for ASM and encourage them to
participate in supply chain initiatives;
vii. Promote technological transfer and use of appropriate equipment;
viii. Establish mechanisms for ASM to access financing; and
ix. Collaborate with development partners and civil society to promote best practices in the
ASM sub-sector.


Objective 6 : To promote and protect health, safety and environment in the mineral industry.
Strategy 6 : Establish a mechanism to monitor and enforce compliance with health, safety
and environmental standards.
Key Actions:

i. Strengthen capacity to monitor, inspect and enforce environmental provisions;

ii. Promote the use of environmentally sound exploration and mining techniques and
technology and regulate the use of toxic and hazardous substances such as mercury and
iii. Establish mechanisms for comprehensive social and environmental planning, management
and mine restoration;
iv. Create health, safety, HIV/AIDS and environmental awareness and train on best practices; and
v. Put in place a mechanism for addressing environmental and social grievances, disputes
and conflicts arising from exploration and mining operations.

Objective 7 : Protect and uphold gender, equity and human rights in the mineral industry.
Strategy 7 : Develop and implement frameworks, structures and mechanisms that ensure
equitable participation, ownership and decision-making of vulnerable groups.
Key Actions:
i. Promote gender inclusiveness and equity in the mineral sector;
ii. Strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of laws and regulations relating to child
labour and welfare in the mining industry;
iii. Promote respect for human rights through free, prior and informed consent and
consultations while accessing surface rights for mineral projects;
iv. Recognise and promote labour rights for mine workers
v. Create awareness programmes on gender and equity for mining communities; and
vi. Put in place a framework of binding norms relevant for human rights protection in the
mining industry.

Objective 8 : To promote mineral value addition.

Strategy 8 : Establish mechanisms for promotion of investments in mining and value
Key Actions:

i. Develop and put in place mechanisms that encourage in-country value addition of mineral
resources to discourage the export of low value mineral concentrates;
ii. Strengthen and maintain a modern internationally certified mineral analysis and
beneficiation laboratory at the DGSM;


iii. Put in place appropriate incentives to encourage private sector to set up modern credible
mineral analysis and beneficiation laboratories and industries;
iv. Establish mineral beneficiation centres for training on mining and value addition
techniques and marketing;
v. Put in place an appropriate framework and structures for the regulation of mineral
processing and exportation; and
vi. Benchmark and adopt international best practice in mineral value addition.

Objective 9 : To promote local content and national participation in the mineral industry.
Strategy 9 : Develop and implement measures to enhance local workforce, facilitate
knowledge and skills transfer and promote the use of local goods and services in the
mining industry.
Key Actions:

i. Provide mechanisms for Ugandans to participate as independent developers or in

partnership with foreign investors;
ii. Require licensees to equip nationals with skills and give priority to Ugandans in recruitment
and employment at all levels;
iii. Collaborate with institutions of higher learning and set up new training programmes to
support the development of the mining industry;
iv. Develop mechanisms for promoting local content development;
v. Promote skills development, education, training and research and development in the
mining industry;
vi. Promote state participation in the development of strategic minerals;
vii. Require mining companies to procure goods and services available in Uganda and sold by
Ugandan owned entities and individuals at competitive prices and acceptable quality;
viii. Require mining companies to enter into community development agreements (CDAs) with
mining host communities; and
ix. Build the capacity and empower host mining communities to negotiate CDAs with

Objective 10 : To promote regional and international cooperation.

Strategy 10 : Promote regional and international cooperation in the development and
management of the mineral sub-sector.
Key Actions:

i. Collaborate with regional and international governments and bodies on information

sharing relating to mineral markets, innovations, imports and exports, marine mineral
exploration and exploitation;
ii. Domesticate appropriate regional and international treaties, conventions, agreements,
protocols which support good governance in the mining industry;


iii. Encourage co-operation in the development of human resources through exchange of geo-
science information, technology and sharing facilities and expertise;
iv. Maintain and subscribe to membership in regional and international institutions relevant
to the mining industry development; and
v. Promote trans-boundary cooperation on environmentally friendly geological surveys and
mineral exploitation.

Story Ideas
Each of the 10 strategies in the mining and mineral policy as well as many of the recommended
key actions provides a good foundation for important stories on the sector.
Again, the key thing is to ask questions. In particular, has the strategy been implemented? If
so, how far? With what success? If not, why not?
Questions on Strategy 1:
At the broad level,
• How far has the government gone in establishing a comprehensive, stable, transparent,
efficient and effective regulatory framework to maximise mineral development?
• What seems to be standing in the way of establishing this framework?
• What is being done about it?
At the specific level,
• Is the mining cadastre and registry system up to scratch?
• Has the exploitation of rocks connected to ecological systems and those with historical
relevance and tourism importance been restricted?
• Has an enabling environment that regulates the co-existence of mineral rights and other land
use rights been created? If not, how are these two playing out?
Questions on Strategy 2:
At the broad level,
• What system or regime is in place for the collection and management of mineral revenues?
• Is it stable and transparent?
Note : The same questions could be asked about the revenue management sections of proposed
mining legislation.
At the specific level,
• How are royalty returns lodged?
• How or on what are royalties and other mineral revenues spent on?
• Are mineral production returns submitted by mining companies? If yes, are they accurate?
If not, why not?


Questions on Strategy 3:
At the broad level,
• What is the state of collection of geological data?
• How is the state of access to geological data?
At the specific level,

• Is data about the country’s mining industry being collected, analysed, archived and
• What types of surveys are conducted?
• What exploration, evaluation and feasibility studies of mineral deposits have been undertaken?
• Has a national minerals database been established?
• Is there a framework for the development of infrastructure that facilitates access to and eases
exploitation of mineral wealth?
• Has a mineral promotion and investment unit been established at the DGSM?
Questions on Strategy 4:
At the broad level,

• What is the state of institutional and human capacity at DGSM and other relevant
institutions in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development?
At the specific level,

• What/how is the funding of the DGSM?

• What initiatives are being implemented to strengthen capacity and build skills?
Questions on Strategy 5:
At the broad level,
• Has a framework for mainstreaming and formalising artisanal and small-scale mining
operations been developed?
At the specific level,

• Is there a framework for licensing, regulating and monitoring of ASM activities?

• Have ASM associations been encouraged?
• Have areas for ASM operations been mapped and demarcated?
• Is artisanal mining a preserve of Ugandan citizens?
• Has the government provided extension services and technical assistance to ASM and other
mining communities in adopting safe, environmentally and socially acceptable mining and
processing practices?
• What is the state of technological transfer in the ASM sub-sector?
• Have mechanisms been established for ASM to access financing?


Questions on Strategy 6:
At the broad level,
• Has a mechanism been established to monitor and enforce compliance with health, safety and
environmental standards?
• If yes, what kind of mechanism is it and how is it working?
At the specific level,

• Is there capacity to monitor, inspect and enforce environmental provisions?

• Are there mechanisms for comprehensive social and environmental planning, management and
mine restoration?
• Are there initiatives for creating or promoting health, safety, HIV/AIDS and environmental
• Is there a mechanism for addressing environmental and social grievances, disputes and conflicts
arising from exploration and mining operations?
Questions on Strategy 7:
At the broad level,
• Are there frameworks, structures and mechanisms that ensure equitable participation,
ownership and decision-making of vulnerable groups?
At the specific level,

• Is gender inclusiveness and equity in the mineral sector being promoted?

• Are there laws and regulations relating to child labour and welfare in the mining industry?
If yes, are they enforced?
• Is the right of citizens to free, prior and informed consent and consultations while accessing
surface rights for mineral projects protected?
• Are labour rights of mine workers protected?
Questions on Strategy 8:
At the broad level,
• Are there mechanisms for promotion of investments in mining and value addition?
At the specific level,

• What mechanisms or initiatives are in place to encourage in-country value addition?

• Does the DGSM maintain a modern internationally certified mineral analysis and
beneficiation laboratory?
• Are there private modern and credible mineral analysis and beneficiation laboratories? Are
incentives in place to encourage private laboratories?
• Is there an appropriate framework and structures for the regulation of mineral processing
and exportation?


Questions on Strategy 9:
At the broad level,
• Are measures in place to enhance the local workforce, facilitate knowledge and skills transfer
and promote the use of local goods and services in the mining industry?
At the specific level,
• What are some of the mechanisms in place to ensure that Ugandans participate as independent
developers or in partnership with foreign investors?
• Do Ugandans have priority in recruitment and employment at all levels?
• What mechanisms are in place to support or promote local content development?
• What mechanisms are in place to ensure that mining companies procure goods and services
available in Uganda and sold by Ugandan owned entities and individuals at competitive prices
and acceptable quality?
Questions on Strategy 10:
At the broad level,
• Is the country promoting regional and international cooperation in the development and
management of the mineral sub-sector?
At the specific level,
• Does the country collaborate with regional and international governments and bodies on
information sharing relating to mineral markets, innovations, imports and exports, marine
mineral exploration and exploitation?
• Has the country domesticated appropriate regional and international treaties, conventions,
agreements, protocols which support good governance in the mining industry?
• Has the country encouraged co-operation in the development of human resources through
exchange of geo-science information, technology and sharing facilities and expertise?
• Does the country maintain and subscribe to membership in regional and international
institutions relevant to the mining industry development?


The place of mining and minerals in Uganda’s
national development plans
From the Second National Development Plan (2015/16-2019/20)

Uganda’s second five-year National Development Plan, which ends in the financial year
2019/20, prioritises the mining sector in the country’s sustainable development journey.
The NDP-II lists seven objectives for the mining and mineral sector.
Objective 1 : Establish the geological and mineral potential of the country
• Conduct detailed geological appraisal and quantification of the 16 identified mineral
potential targets.
• Map, evaluate and build institutional capacity to develop uranium resources into
nuclear energy.
• Promote the development of Rare Earth Elements (REE).
• Map and gazette geosites for geo-tourism and mining industrial parks.
• Establish the mineral potential of Karamoja region.
Objective 2 : Increase monitoring and regulation in the mining sector
• Develop a mineral development master plan.
• Complete the review of mining policy and legislation.
• Inspect and monitor exploration and mining activities and ensure existence of health
and safety standards including eliminating child involvement.
• Conduct due diligence on potential investors in the sector.


• Implement the strategy for restoration of derelict and abandoned mines.
• Mainstream and monitor operations of Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners (ASM).
• Update and maintain the Mining Cadastre and Registry System.
• Develop local government capacity to monitor and regulate mining activities.
Objective 3 : Increase regulations in trade in mineral commodities
• Implement a regional certification mechanism as a tool for rational management of
natural resources to avoid illegal exploitation.
• Establish a public institution to handle certification process.
• Establish a traceability system to ensure availability of the operators.
• Establish an inspection system.
Objective 4 : Increase private sector investment in the mineral sector
• Promote and encourage beneficiation and value addition in the priority minerals.
• Provide an up to date, accurate and reliable geo-information/data for promotion of the
mineral sector.
• Establish a strategy for promotion of the sector locally and internationally.
• Build institutional capacity in geo-information management and analysis.
• Strengthen the capacity of the mineral testing laboratory.
Objective 5 : Increase geothermal energy in the country
• Promote and attract investment in geothermal energy.
• Conduct additional geological, geochemical and geophysical studies at Katwe,
Buranga, Kibiro and Panyimur.
• Update the current surface models based on geology, geochemical and geophysical
• Conduct infrastructure assessment and increase equipment for development of
geothermal in the four priority areas.
• Develop capacity of geothermal exploration, Reservoir engineering, project design,
operation and financing.
OBJECTIVE 6 : Increase response to mitigate seismic risk
• Map all areas prone to seismic risk and monitor all seismic events.
• Establish earthquake administration policy, disaster management plan and legal
framework to enforce seismic safety standards.
• Extend and strengthen seismological network coverage to areas prone to seismic and


volcanic risk.
• Strengthen institutional research capacity and develop skills of Ugandans in
seismology, earthquake engineering, seismic instrumentation, and computing.

Objective 7 : Increase the stock of skilled human capital along the mineral development
value chain
• Develop and maintain national skills and expertise in the mineral sector.
• Implement the oil and gas workforce development strategy and plan.
• Develop appropriate training programs for ASM.
• Develop the capacity of institutions under the Directorate of Geological Survey and
• Develop and maintain linkages with other geo-scientific institutions and bodies globally
such as Southern and Eastern Africa Mineral Centre (SEAMIC), Comprehensive
Nuclear – Test – Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
• Promote research and development in the mineral sector.

Story Ideas
The objectives provide a higher-level yardstick against which to measure progress. The
interventions, on the other hand, offer key actions whose implementation should be
monitored over the five-year NDP-II life.
The key thing is to ask questions. In particular, have the objectives been achieved? If so, how
far and with what success? If not, why not?
Have the interventions been implemented? If yes, which ones and with what success? If not,
why not?
Questions on Objective 1
• Has detailed geological appraisal and quantification of the 16 identified mineral
potential targets been conducted? If yes, what were the findings?
• What is the state of development of Rare Earth Elements?
• Have geo-sites for geo-tourism and mining industrial parks been mapped and
• Has the mineral potential of different parts of the country been established?

Questions on Objective 2
• Has a mineral development master plan been developed? If yes, what are its key
• What is the status of the review of mining legislation?
• What is the state of exploration and production?


• Who are the players in the mining industry? Which investors are interested in joining
the sector?
• What is the progress on the restoration of derelict and abandoned mines?
• Has artisanal and small-scale mining been mainstreamed?
• Has the mining cadastre and registry system been updated?
• Have local governments developed the capacity to monitor and regulate mining

Questions on Objective 3
• Has a regional certification mechanism been developed and/or implemented?
• Has a public institution been established to handle the certification process?
• Has an inspection system been established?

Questions on Objective 4
• Is beneficiation and value addition in priority minerals being promoted?
• Do we have up-to-date accurate and reliable geo-information/data for the promotion
of the mining sector?
• What strategy, if any, is in place for the promotion of the sector locally and
• Has the capacity of the mineral testing laboratory been strengthened?

Questions on Objective 5
• What is the status of investment in geothermal energy in the country?
• What is the government’s capacity in geothermal exploration?

Questions on Objective 6
• Has the mapping of all areas prone to seismic risk been done?
• Has an earthquake administration policy and disaster management plan been
• Has the seismological network coverage been extended and strengthened in areas
open to seismic and volcanic risk?

Questions on Objective 7
• What is the state of national skills and expertise in the minerals sector?
• Are appropriate training programmes being developed?
• Has the capacity of the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines been strengthened?
• What is the state of research in the minerals sector?


Using data to tell the mining story
By ACME Team

ACME has curated a rich body of data on extractives in Uganda because we believe data is
an important part of improving coverage of the sector.

What is data?
Data is recorded and structured information that includes numbers, text, pictures such as
maps, and satellite imagery.

What is data journalism?

Data journalism involves the following:
• Organising news content around structured pieces of data.
• Using numerical data or databases as primary material for stories.
• Using public data sources as a source of information for investigative and depth
• Using of computer spread sheets and other software to find stories in electronic
• Using data approaches like visualisation to enhance storytelling.
• Using data collection techniques to track issues of importance to your reporting.
Why data journalism?
• Independently establishing the truth beyond the opinion of a source(s).
• Finding stories in fields where you don’t have good source access.
• Independently discovering stories on slow news days.
• Cutting back on the over-reliance on access journalism.
• Adding depth, evidence and enterprise to news coverage.
• Taking advantage of the new information ecology that includes open data,
extraction/scraping tools, and free data visualisation aids.
How to find stories in data
• Start with a hypothesis, and then test it. (A hypothesis is a proposed explanation
for a phenomenon. For example, based on his/her recollection of recent stories,
a reporter could state that major geographical areas in the country are associated
with higher incidences of certain diseases. This hypothesis could be tested by
getting data on mining as well as on incidences of selected diseases. The test will
either prove or disprove the hypothesis).
• Analyse data for trends. Trends are patterns that data over a certain period will
help you spot. For instance, mining revenue from the last five years could show


that traditional minerals such as copper have lost out to more “recent” ones such as
granite. Data could show increases, reductions or stagnation in growth, occurrences,
and so forth.
• Analyse data for internal contrasts (who is worst, who is best, what is x as a percentage of y).
• Find the outliers (what is unlike everything else?)
• Compare it to other datasets to discover invisible connections.

Example of a data story

Chinese mines in Africa provide better roads but not more jobs for
By Lily Kuo
Quartz Africa--November 2, 2017
One of the most common complaints about large often state-owned
Chinese companies operating in Africa is that they bring in their own labor
from China, hiring locals only for the lowest paid work. It’s a claim that
raises larger questions about how much Chinese companies, criticized for
everything from environmental degradation to operating and living in their
own enclaves, contribute to the economies of the African countries in which
they operate.
This resentment, according to a recent study on Chinese mining operations
in 38 African countries, is justified but the overall picture is more mixed.
Researchers Tim Wegenast and Georg Struver of the German Institute of
Global and Area Studies analyzed public opinion surveys, employment
rates, and other data for areas close to Chinese-run copper, diamond, and
gold mines between 1997 and 2014.
“The effect of Chinese mining companies on African local development is
ambiguous: While proximity to Chinese-operated mines is associated with
anti-Chinese sentiments and unemployment, populations living close to
Chinese mining areas enjoy better infrastructure, such as paved roads or
piped water,” they write.
The mining sector is especially important for perceptions of China in Africa.
Between 2005 and 2016, as much as half of all of outbound Chinese investment
went into the extractive sector. A third of those funds have come to Africa,
where the highest number of Chinese mines are in South Africa, Zambia,
Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


The law and access to land for mineral
development in Uganda
By Denis Kusaasira, mining lawyer

Synopsis of Land Tenure Systems in Uganda

Customary tenure
This is defined as a land tenure system providing for communal ownership of land, but in
which parcels of land may be recognised as subdivisions belonging to one person, family,
or a traditional institution.
It is governed and regulated by principles of customary law, which are accepted as binding
by a particular community, and which are not repugnant to natural justice, equity, and
good conscience.
Customary tenure vested all former public land in Ugandans who were occupying it as
customary tenants of the government before the enactment of the Constitution in 1995.
Customary tenure applies to only Ugandans, although it varies according to ethnic groups
and regions in the country. Non-Ugandans cannot own land under customary tenure.
Freehold tenure
This is defined as land tenure that derives its legality and its incidents from written law, and
can only be owned by Ugandans.
Incidents of freehold tenure are:
• Holding land in perpetuity, or for a period less than perpetuity.
• Full ownership of land.

Land under freehold tenure is registered under the Torren System of conveyance based on the
principle of title by registration and indefeasibility of titles, meaning that:
• No interests in land are created by any document unless such document is registered
in the register of titles.
• A title once registered is indefeasible except on grounds stated under the law, such as
fraud, default on repayment of mortgage, or if there existed a title in the same area
prior to registration.

Mailo land tenure

This system is similar to freehold tenure, except that under Mailo tenure, the land cannot be
held for a period less than fee simple.1
It derives its origin from the 1900 Buganda Agreement under which almost half of land
in Buganda was allocated by the colonial government to chiefs and other notables to
hold it in perpetuity.

1. Land owned in fee simple is owned completely, without any limitations or conditions. This type of
unlimited estate is called absolute. < >


The allocations were expressed in multiples or fractions of square miles, hence the term
‘mailo’, which is a Luganda language corruption of the English word “mile”.
Only Ugandans can own land under this form of land tenure system.

Leasehold tenure
This is a system whereby one party grants to another the right to exclusive possession of land
for a specific period, usually, although not necessarily, in return for a periodic payment of
money called rent.
Like freehold tenure, land held under leasehold may be registered under the Torrens System
of Registration
Leases can be created over land owned under customary, freehold, and mailo land tenure
The maximum leasehold period is 99 years but the Land Policy proposes to reduce it to 49
years for non-Ugandans.

Tenancy by occupancy
This is a landlord-tenant relationship created by operation of law, comprised of lawful and
bona fide occupants of land held by another person under freehold or mailo tenure system.
It is not a form of land tenure system in strict sense, but the right enjoyed by tenants by
occupancy tend to make it a quasi land tenure system.
Tenants by occupancy enjoy security of tenure hence they cannot be evicted except with a
court order, for non-payment of ground rent.

General overview of mineral tenure systems

Mineral tenure is all about ownership of minerals and the right to explore and exploit the
minerals on a given land. There are two types of globally recognised mineral tenure systems:
• Accession system: where minerals are owned by whoever owns the land in which the
minerals are located.
• Regalian system: where minerals are owned by the state but the state gives rights to private
persons to extract and sale the minerals in return for royalties and other taxes.

The regalian system is the most common and is the one applicable to Uganda under Article
244(1) of the Constitution of Uganda. Construction minerals are commonly excluded under
the regalian system, and this is the case for Uganda, as per Article 244(5).

The regalian system is based on the public interest principle.


Mineral project development cycle and interface with land rights


Compensation and resettlement

By the beginning of 2018 there was no clear national resettlement and compensation policy
document in Uganda.
Resettlement aspects of projects are guided by applicable laws and practices that have been
developed over time.
Where Ugandan legislation falls short of meeting the conditions prescribed by international
standards, project sponsors usually ensure that the resettlement process project meets the
international standards such as the IFC (International Finance Corporation) Standards, and
the Equator Principles.


Project sponsors identify gaps between Ugandan law and international standards
and propose a strategy to address those gaps, without infringing on issues of national
Section 73 of the Land Act, Cap 227 (the “Land Act”) provides for acquisition of rights
over land required for execution of public works. Public works are defined under Section
1(w) of the Land Act to include the prospecting, exploring and extraction of (natural)
The Land Act provides that where it is necessary to execute any public works on any
land, an authorised undertaker should seek to enter into mutual agreement with the
occupier or owner of the land. If no agreement is reached, the minister responsible for
land may compulsorily acquire the land.
Such compulsory acquisition is subject to the Constitution. Under Article 237(2)(a) and
(b) of the Constitution Government may, subject to Article 26 of the Constitution acquire
land in public interest.
Compulsory acquisition of land for project development in Uganda has previously
been done under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, Cap 226, subject to the
provisions of Article 26 of the Constitution.
Resettlement in Uganda can either be physical resettlement or monetary compensation.
However, monetary compensation is generally the most preferred form of resettlement
by the Project Affected Persons (PAPs).
PAPs are given adequate cash to purchase land, rebuild houses, re-plant crops and re-
establish livelihoods in places of their choice.
Financial management training is usually given to PAPs prior to their compensation to
avoid the misuse of the respective compensation award.
Compensation is assessed by the chief government valuer in accordance with the
valuation principles laid out in Section 77 of the Land Act, supplemented by established
The above provisions of section 77 of the Land Act have been applied in cases where
land is to be compulsorily acquired, and also used as a benchmark to determine the
amount of compensation payable in cases where interests in, or rights over, land are
being acquired by mutual agreement.

Compensation is assessed along the following principles:

• Land is compensated at the open market value of unimproved land.

• The value of buildings on the land is taken at open market value for urban areas, and
depreciated replacement cost for rural areas.


• The value of standing crops on the land is determined in accordance with the district
compensation rates established by the respective district land board and approved by
the chief government valuer.
• Annual crops which could be harvested during the period of notice to vacate
given to the landowner/occupier are normally excluded in determining the total
• In addition to the total compensation assessed, the displaced person receives a
disturbance allowance of 15% of the total compensation, if a six months notice to give
vacant possession of the land is given.
• If less than six months’ notice to give vacant possession is given, the disturbance
allowance of 30% of the total compensation is payable to the displaced person.
• As a matter of practice, if only part of the property is taken and the value of the
remaining property depreciates because of the government’s proposed use of the
taken share, the owner is entitled to compensation called severance damage.

International practice
The Kampala Convention, which Uganda ratified, incorporates international standards
such as IFC Standards as applicable standards to resettlement of project-induced
displacement. IFC Standards encourage minimisation of physical and economic
displacement where possible. They encourage negotiated access as opposed to forceful
acquisition of land through compulsory acquisition.
Land-for-land compensation should be encouraged since affected persons may not be
used to handling large amounts of money, and may not be in position to properly plan
for the money.
The resettlement process follows the following guide:
• Identification of the project impacts and the effected population through a social and
baseline survey.
• Description of the legal framework for land access or acquisition and compensation.
• Description of the compensation framework to be applied.
• Description of the plan for resettlement assistance and restoration of livelihood.
• Description of a detailed budget for implementing the resettlement plan.
• Description the resettlement implementation schedule.
• Description of the organisational responsibilities of government and project
• A framework for public consultation, participation, and development planning.
• Description of provisions for redress of grievances.
• A framework for monitoring, evaluation, and reporting.


Pitching your story

By ACME Team

Before sharing a story idea with your editor you should invest some time in thinking
about and justifying why it would produce a viable story. What appear to be very
promising ideas sometimes disappear once reporters are asked to give them some meat,
to flesh them out.
Below are some tips to help you strengthen your story pitch.
1. What’s your CATCH PHRASE? Get some key words or preliminary idea for a working
2. WHAT is the story about? What’s the key issue(s)?
3. What has CHANGED? What’s NEW and/or SURPRISING about this story? Why is it
worth covering NOW as opposed to last month, last year, or two years from now? What,
if anything, would your reader/viewer/audience be surprised to learn in this story? [Be
ready to back up claims about change with evidence, however preliminary it may be.]
4. WHO CARES? What’s the SIGNIFICANCE of the story? Why does it MATTER? [This is
where you show the importance of the story or development you are covering i.e. what
makes it news worthy? Why should people pay attention?]
5. What does your PRELIMINARY RESEARCH about the issue show? [You could include
some brief background here, where appropriate. You could also mention if you have
engaged with the issue/subject of investigation previously.]
6. What QUESTIONS will you attempt to answer in order deliver depth? [e.g. What are
the causes of this? How does this work? What’s the impact of this? Who benefits? Who
loses? What are the (hidden) interests behind this? Where is this coming from? How has
this been handled elsewhere?]
7. What’s the SCOPE of the story? [e.g. How widespread is the development? Is it local,
regional, national? How many people are affected?]
8. What TYPE of story will you be doing? [Will you go for a special or investigative
report, a series, a TV or radio documentary, a radio package, a multimedia report, or a
combination of reports including Q & A interviews, talk shows, etc.?
9. What REPORTING METHODS do you plan to employ to deliver the story? [e.g. How
will you gather the information you need to tell the story. Will you review or analyse
reports, conduct interviews with human sources, mine data from datasets you have
access to, etc.?]
10. What SOURCES/RESOURCES do you plan to use to prepare this story? [It helps if you
can list a few sources, both documentary and human, that you plan to draw on, showing
how and/or what you will use them (for)].
11. How LONG will it take you to deliver the story? [It is important to provide a reasonable
timeline or date by which you will have completed the story.]
12. What is your estimated BUDGET for delivering the story? [This is particularly important
if delivering the story requires you to have more than the usual financial resources.]


African Centre for Media Excellence
Plot 124 Nanjala Road, Bunga
P.O. Box 11283 Kampala, Uganda
Landline: +256 312 202 350