RESIDENTS of Tororo have cause to smile following the signing of memorandum of understanding between India's Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (GSFC) and Nilefos minerals to develop the Sukulu mines.
GSFC has over 45 years' experience in the manufacture of urea, ammonium sulphate, fertilizers, petro-chemicals, industrial gases, fibres and other products.
"Nilefos Minerals is in advanced stages of finalising the resettlement Action Plan (RAP) with the residents at the project site, together with the help of the Government of Uganda," reads a statement from Nilefos Minerals.
"The President of Uganda, His Excellency Y.K Museveni has earmarked this project as a National Development Priority Project for the country. This partnership further enhances the strong relationship between India and Uganda."
The partnership comes with a $200m (sh534.4b) initial investment kitty to fulfil demand in the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) with an estimated 500 million population.
Hope Mwesige, the former agriculture minister, Nimisha Madhvani, Uganda's ambassador to India and the team advisor, Parimal Panchmatia signed on behalf of Nilefos in the presence of Shri Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister.
The MoU was signed at the "Vibrant Gujarat Summit" in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The Osukuru hills in Tororo district have an estimated 200 million tonnes of mineral deposits, with Phosphate constituting 30%.
Work by Nilefos, which is affiliated to the Madhvani Group of Companies, resumed after court ruled in favour of better compensation for over 6,000 residents in the 26 square kilometers radius in Osukuru and Rubongi sub-counties where phosphate deposits occur.
An exercise to assess the value of properties that will be destroyed to give room to a large phosphate mine in Tororo district has been launched by the district authorities.