Uganda: Geosciences Data Portal to Boost Mineral Exploration Piloted in Uganda

25 November 2019

A geosciences data portal is being piloted in Uganda to promote discovery of multi-disciplinary geosciences data in Jinja and Mbarara.

The data-driven portal is meant to stimulate collaboration between government, industry players (from the private sector) and the public to advance understanding of the regions in terms of their mineralisation.

The portal makes geosciences data freely available and the idea is that it encourages investment in the Uganda's mining sector.

"The primary aim is to encourage mineral exploration and support better early-stage decision making," the creators said in a media statement.

The focus on Jinja, which is an area within the greenstone belt, is because the land there is prospective for gold, base metals, phosphates, rare earth elements and vermiculite. The Mbarara region, on the other hand, has potential for gold and base metals including copper, lead, nickel and zinc.

Henry Ngada, the project manager, said that the platform is purposely meant to provide free-to-access information to among other things attract investments to the country and facilitate research.

He said the data resources on the portal could also benefit environmental and land-use planning, water resource management and sustainable energy development such as geothermal.

"The information accessibly on the portal is not limited to just mining but other sectors as well and we expect it to attract interest from potential investors in different sectors. Much as it is being piloted in Uganda it is an East African project," he told Oil in Uganda.

"We notice that limited availability of information in the mining sector is a setback for investors therefore the need to plug that loophole," he said.

According to the Mining and Mineral Policy 2018, government is to restructure DGSM to enhance their capacity and capabilities to meet emerging geosciences challenges, both local and global.

This is to be achieved through the creation of a new Department of Exploration and Mineral Economics (the Mining bill 2019 provides for creation of the Minerals Exploration Unit) will augment the DGSM's capacity and capability especially in identifying, delineating prospective areas of mineral resources.

It will make available basic spatial and non-spatial data for use in a variety of sectors including agriculture, water resources, infrastructure projects, environment among other sectors.

The pilot data project is a collaborative initiative between the African Union Commission, Geosoft Inc., the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, the British Geological Survey, the Uganda Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines and the Ugandan Chamber of Mines and Petroleum.

Ngada said that the National Information and Technology Authority is providing the platform for cloud storage of the portal.

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