Gold deposits have encouraged prospecting interest in Uganda since the early twentieth century. Historically, however, large-scale mining did not take place as there was only medium-scale gold mining, with gold extraction being the domain of artisanal miners. In the early 2000s, revisions to minerals policy and legislation marked a move towards a national environment that’s more ‘investor-friendly for mining.
Over the years, the gold mining industry has been on the rise. The gold sales make up about 30% of Uganda’s export revenue and in 2016, 514 million dollars in gold were exported from Uganda, representing a 50x increase over the decade.
Much of the gold mining activities are highly concentrated in locations such as Mubende, Kigezi, Busia, Karamoja, as well as Buhweju. In the recent past, mining was done on a small-scale basis in regions such as Buhweju basin. In recent times, several international mining companies have shown interest in Uganda, investing substantial capital in the mining sector and this has resulted in an increase in terms of productivity which is a good sign for the country’s mining industry in the near future.
Below is a list of gold mining companies in Uganda.
TOP GOLD MINING COMPANIES IN UGANDA
Vangold Resources Limited
Vangold is a development-stage mineral exploration and oil-and-gas production company. It is engaged in the identification, acquisition, evaluation, exploration, and development of mineral properties located in Canada, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Uganda as well as Brazil.
The company has been able to carry out gold mining explorations using two major subsidiaries which are the Dome Mines Ltd and Rwenzori Cu & Ni Ltd. It is known to carry out prospecting activities within the West Nile Region, which covers the greenstone belt on the Ugandan side, and the area known as Kilo Moto goldfields on the side of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The company has 5 licenses covering 287 sq km. As earlier mentioned, the licenses are located in the West Nile region bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan and are within the geological continuation of the Kilo Moto gold province of north-eastern Congo. By the early 1960s, the total production of the Kilo Moto goldfields was above 8.8 million ounces. Currently, exploration in the Kilo Moto area has identified 15 million ounces of gold.
It is interesting to note that they are also active investors in oil and gas properties in Canada, the United States, Rwanda, and likewise Kenya. Vangold is classified Tier 1. Vangold conducts business independently and through joint ventures.
Ilota Mining is a licensed Mineral mining and selling company that is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo but has operational offices in Uganda. The company specializes in buying and selling gold, gold refinery, and smelting, wolfram, tantalite, copper, and diamonds. They have a mission to make profitable production of gold, diamonds, and other minerals which they mine and also deal in.
Ilota Mining is one of Uganda’s numerous Gold refining companies and has been in existence for over 10 years. The innovative quality of their Ilota Mining can be seen in the method employed for their gold refinery. In addition to the two common Uganda gold mining methods, namely the Miller process and the Wohlwill process, the company uses the acid-based gold refinery method.
The acid-based method is a traditional method called aqua regia (Latin for “Royal Water”) and dates back hundreds of years. This method requires the use of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. However, due to the corrosive nature of nitric acid, the fumes produced by this process, known as nitric oxides, are very harmful (Nitric acid fumes will rust high-grade stainless steel in less than 1 second of exposure).
To correct this issue, they’ve developed a non-corrosive, pelletized substitute for nitric acid known as MX3 Concentrate. While there are still fumes when using MX3 alone, they are limited to ordinary muriatic acid (a chemical available in most paint and hardware stores) fumes. They’ve also invented the self-contained machine – the Shor Aqua Regia Refining System for people who prefer this method. It is a sealed unit with an integrated scrubbing system to eliminate the remaining muriatic acid fumes. It also scrubs the fumes if you want to work with nitric acid-based aqua regia.
New Kush Exploration & Mining Company Limited (NKEM)
New Kush Exploration & Mining Company Ltd (NKEM) is a first mover gold exploration company whose operation is focused on East Africa, especially South Sudan, northern Uganda, and Ethiopia. NKEM’s geologists conducted fieldwork in their Ugandan exploration areas in Kaabong consistent with their exploration strategy and philosophy. This happened simultaneously with an extensive Aeromagnetic and radiometric survey across NKEM’s concession areas awarded in 2007 in Eastern Equator.
The technical team has over 60 years of cumulative experience, mostly in African geographies with several significant discoveries of gold, platinum group metals, and uranium deposits. Currently, the team is involved in the development of major new coal, titanomagnetite, tin, and uranium deposits across the African continent.
Barat Mining Limited
Barat Mining Limited is an investment holding company headquartered in Uganda and is duly registered under the laws and regulations of Uganda.
They take pride in possessing the largest refinery in the region making them the leader in the precious metal industry in terms of customer service, reliability, efficiency, and quality. The company has maintained a reputation for having the highest standards in assaying, refining, and smelting. It produces and mints gold, silver, and platinum group metals.
Barat Mining Limited is also involved in gold trading and buying. They offer a wide range of trading and brokering services for precious metals whether it is for professional traders, wholesale gold dealers, or future investment.
Trade Panel International Limited
Trade Panel International Limited is a gold and timber production company located about 30 km along Kampala-Entebbe road, Uganda. The company, which has operated for about ten years, runs a large-scale gold and timber sourcing project with established links to reputable mineral reserves in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It sources and purchases gold and quality timber from the local market and sells it to the international market.
Trade Panel International Limited mines, smells, and ships gold to the Middle East, America, and many other related gold end-users including organizations, institutions globally. As a way of giving back, it extends charity services to local communities at no cost. The company set up centers for hope for all cancer patients in Uganda. For about 10 years, it has been working with a group of individuals who have been privately helping cancer patients since 2002. Because they have seen and or have firsthand experience in this particular field, they developed an interest in offering and further impact positively on cancer challenges.
Busitema Mining Cie Ltd. (“Busitema”)
Busitema is a registered company in the Republic of Uganda that was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. It currently holds ten exploration licenses for gold and base metals covering a total area of 1,135.5 sq km and has a beneficial interest in one more exploration license for gold and base metals covering 4.7 sq km according to a contract.
In addition, Busitema has a 21-year mining lease for gold consisting of 56.1 hectares within one of the exploration licenses that it holds. All of these mineral rights are located in the southeastern part of the Republic of Uganda. However, these mineral rights are subject to special conditions, renewal rights, and the provisions of the Mining Act and the applicable Mining Regulations of the Republic of Uganda.
Magnus International Resources Inc.
Magnus International Resources Inc is a mineral exploration company that specializes in identifying, acquiring, and developing precious and base metal properties. It has been active in Uganda since 2007 where it has a 100% interest in eight mineral properties. It has offices in Vancouver, Canada, and Entebbe, Uganda.
The Company has previously been focused on gold projects in China from 2004 to 2006 but now has property agreements in Africa. It has a 100% interest in eight mineral properties (comprising 25 mineral exploration licenses) in Uganda (namely: Mubende, Mwerusandu, Lugazi, Mitoma, Buhweju East, Kigumba, Kidera, and Nyanga) through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries, African Mineral Fields Ltd. and AB Mining Ltd. (each of which is wholly-owned by the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, African Mineral Fields Inc. (“AMF”).
Magnus also had a right to earn a 60% interest in the Mashonga Property and a right to earn an 80% interest in the Ibanda Property but withdrew from both of these joint venture agreements in December 2008.
Although there has been an influx of international companies showing interest in the mining sector in Uganda, the country still seeks investors in the gold sector. According to the Gold Mining Status Report February 2021 released by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, 1million ounces of gold are estimated in the areas of Mashonga (Bushenyi) and 500,000 ounces of gold in Kampono, Ibanda district. In addition, gold occurs in several places in the districts of Buhweju, Bushenyi, Ibanda, Rubirizi, and Mitooma.
To encourage investors, the government offers good geological data sets and management systems and guarantees streamlined procedures and protection of investors against appropriation.