Kampala- With the country’s focus overly tilted towards the oil discoveries in the Albertine belt, another mineral discovery of Rare Earth metals has been discovered in the Busoga sub-region.
Capable of transforming the country’s economy, the minerals include; Aluminous clays, yttrium, and rare metals such as gallium and scandium, whose exploration is in advanced stages but financial worth stands at $370 billion (about Shs942 trillion).
The new mineral discovery estimated at 300 million tonnage in the districts of Bugiri, Iganga and Mayuge, was made public last week at the second annual mineral conference, which brought together potential investors in the mining and auxilliary industries from several countries.
The lead explorer, Mr David Kyagulanyi, of Kweri investments, a local mining company, said the feasibility studies so far conducted indicate that there is a possibility of more deposits for the mineral.
“The geological and economic value of these rare earth metals particularly the Clays can only be equaled to deposits discovered in Canada and to some extent in China,” Mr Kyagulanyi noted.
Rare earth metals such as alloys, are used in the construction and manufacturing of automobile (cars, aeroplane) parts, and largely in electronics.
A specific type of technology, the Orbite Aluminae’ Technology is needed to get these vast mineral wealth out of the grounds, especially the Aluminous clays in the Makutu area projected to be 3 billion tonnes and whose economic value is close to Shs1,250 trillion ($500 billion).
While he made a case for this mineral wealth, he further stressed that the money needed to facilitate additional explorations and actual mining for the Aluminous clay is Shs1.62 billion ($650 million).
Infrastructural development of roads and a railway line, are also still needed in the area and in the employment of the technology needed.
Mr Kyagulanyi said Kweri Investments has so far injected Shs755 million in the exploration, “and the company is currently limited by resources to continue.”
The company has also applied to the government’s department of Geological Survey and Mines for renewal of their mining licence in the area, which has insisted that, Kweri first demonstrate its financial competence before a licence can be renewed, in view of eliminating speculators.
Dr Luisa Moreno, a Canadian based technical and financial analyst in industrial metals, said, “The country stands a chance to benefit a lot from these resources if exploited well.”
300 million: Tonnes of the new discovery in the districts of Bugiri, Iganga and Mayuge
Shs755 million: Amount of money that Kweri Investments has pumped in exploration activities so far
Shs942 trillion: The financial worth of Aluminous clays, yttrium, and rare metals such as gallium and scandium