Most of Uganda’s gold exports not produced locally - report

Artisanal gold miners at Kisiita mining site in Kassanda District go on with their business on March 18, 2020. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Uganda has experienced a sharp increase in gold exports since 2016.

The Uganda Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative report has revealed that there is a mismatch in gold exports and local production. 

The report, which was launched at the weekend, indicates that whereas the value of exported gold in 2019 stood at Shs4.17 trillion, according  to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), the value of local production stood at Shs1.85b, going by the Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines.

“This implies that the major part of the gold exported is not part of the local and formal production,” the report reads in part.

Uganda has experienced a sharp increase in gold exports since 2016. However, as demonstrated in the report, there have been significant discrepancies between gold production figures reported by the Mines Directorate and the actual exports of gold reported by URA.

Stakeholders in developing the report recommended that both the Mines Directorate and URA put in place a mechanism for sharing production and export data to ensure better monitoring of trading activities in the country’s mineral sector.

So far, a number of gold processing facilities have been developed or registered to provide services including smelting, assaying, refining and transportation to the final consumers who are usually abroad.

These companies require an annual Mineral Dealer’s License to be able to buy, sell and deal in minerals and this is renewed yearly.

They also have a manufacture in bond license issued by URA’s Customs Department which enables them to export the gold.

In July 2021, government imposed a levy of 5 percent on every kilogramme of refined gold and 10 percent on unprocessed gold for export.

However, dealers challenged the levy, resulting into a sharp decline in the amount of gold exported. 
Uganda has five gold refineries namely including African Gold Refinery, trading as Thaba Investments, Simba Gold Refinery, Bullion Refinery, Metal Testing and Smelting and Aurnish Trading. 

However new companies such as Nuran Ventures-SMC and Wagagai are in the process of setting up refineries to conduct both mining and processing of gold.