Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited has been ordered to halt mining activities rare earth minerals in Uganda. The country’s Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja directed the order and said the government has come up with a policy to add value to all minerals in the country so that they can have employment for locals.
Nabbanja also directed the Minister for Energy and Minerals to travel to the districts of Bugweri, Mayuge and Bugiri to establish the facts. This was in response to Bugweri district Woman MP, Hon. Rachel Magoola’s concerns that government is not visible in educating the residents in the three districts about rare earth minerals and the presence of the alien company on ground.
Sale of land
While raising the matter of national importance, Magoola said there were also potential land conflicts brewing due to potential sale of land purported to host the rare minerals.
“The locals have been given a timeline of one month to sign MoUs of their land to an organisation which they are worried about. My prayer is that the ministry comes out and introduces these people officially,” she said.
The Prime Minister’s directive also followed Magoola’s request for stop to interactions between Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited and the residents of the district in which the rare minerals are said to have been discovered.
“It is causing a lot of anxiety and families are fighting against each other over the idea that land is going to be sold for a lot of money. We need protection of the community from this company,” Magoola added.
According to the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines, Rwenzori Rare Metals Limited was licensed to conduct exploration in the Busoga sub region, where most of Uganda’s deposits lie. Such rare earth minerals include cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium and lanthanum.