Govt banking on electric vehicles to boost mining

Government says Uganda has a lot of unexploited minerals. PHOTO/FILE

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State Minister for Mineral Development says the increase in demand for minerals to power new technological innovations will be a catalysts for the development of Uganda’s mining sector. 

The Minister of State for Mineral Development has said the transition to green energy is a key factor on which Uganda will hinge the development of its mineral sector in the years to come. 

Speaking during a multi-stakeholder dialogue on a just energy transition themed: “Towards a people-centered and just energy transition for East Africa, State for Mineral Development Peter Lokeris, said the transition to green energy had already created an increase in demand for critical minerals to power new technological innovations such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and batteries. 

“A typical electric vehicle will need six times more minerals than a conventional car. Similarly, according to the International Energy Agency, an onshore wind plant will need nine times more minerals than a gas-fired plant,” he said, noting that government had already built plans to decarbonise the transport sector. 

The transition to cleaner energy is increasingly gaining momentum with several experiments being tried out in Uganda and across the globe.  

Therefore, Mr Lokeris said, government was prioritising the development of renewable energy, beginning with decarbonising the transport sector.
“We have plans to decarbonise the transport sector by blending petroleum products with biofuels and switching to electric vehicles,” he said, noting that Uganda already has huge potential to produce metallic minerals, industrial minerals, gemstones and geothermal energy resources.

Uganda, according to government has large deposits of unexploited critical minerals needed for the new technology, among which include lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel, graphite, ganganese, lead, uranium, platinum group of minerals and rare earth elements, among others. 

However, given the observable increase in demand for such minerals, Mr Lokeris said Uganda had developed a Mineral Development Programme that seeks to increase exploration and value addition of critical mineral resources.