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Speculators failing mining sector – Chamber of Mines



Weakened. Artisanal miners sieve mineral contents in a gold mine. Speculators, according to the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum chairman have weakened the prospects of attracting foreign direct investment. FILE PHOTO

Speculators holding mineral licences have weakened prospects of attracting serious investors, according to Mr Elly Karuhanga, the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum chairman.
Speaking during the Annual Mineral Wealth Conference in Kampala, Mr Karuhanga wondered why speculators who have no potential to develop exploration areas, continue to deny Uganda an opportunity to develop the country’s mineral sector.

“For heaven’s sake, what business do these people, (speculators) have in holding back these assets? We need a report on what is going to be done on this matters,” he said, noting that speculative licence holders have locked out foreign direct investment that would otherwise be used to develop mining in Uganda.

As of August 9, according to a brief on recent developments in the mineral sub-sector authored under the Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2018, it was noted that 325 exploration licences, 105 location licences, 42 mining leases and three retention licences were valid.
This brings the number of legally held licences to 475, which means that many of the licences in the mineral sector have either expired or their holders have not invested to required levels.
Dr Luisa Morena, a keynote speaker and Tahuti Global managing director, during the conference, said some investors with interest in obtaining mining rights are being asked to pay as much as $100,000 (Shs367m) by speculative licence holders in order to release such rights.

Many of the licences, she said, are held by companies that cannot develop exploration areas, urging urgent reforms that would encourage serious investors to invest in the sector.
“It is not appropriate to turn around and sell some of these licences for hundreds of thousands of dollars or even a million dollars,” she said, questioning why some firms in selected mineral exploration sites have been given mining licences yet they have no financial and technical capacity to conduct modern day magnetic and production.

Dr Morena, has interests in Canada and other parts of the world with key focus on industry metals, technology and energy metal companies.
However, Mr Robert Kasande, the Energy and Mineral Development permanent secretary, informed participants that government had developed a new online Mineral Licencing System to mainly eliminate speculators.
The system, he said, works in a way that the license holder must meet certain benchmarks for them to continue holding the licence.
The mining law is currently under review with the Ministry of Energy urging local actors to consider partnerships through which they can pool enough capital and up-to-date technology to benefit the sector.

“Our friends the artisanal miners … we expect you to be focused on how you are undertaking your mining activities. We need a safe environment and sustainable practices. We expect you to look towards better technology through stronger partnerships,” Mr Peter Lokeris, the Mineral Development state minister, said.
This year’s conference has been conducted under the theme: “Creating an enabling environment for mining in Uganda.”

Encouraging transparency
According to Ms Elsie Attafuah, the United Nations Development Programme resident representative in Uganda, government needs to embrace the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources. “Joining [Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative] is a great step in the right direction for Uganda’s minerals sector. We encourage all players across the value chain to support the global standard. As UN, we shall continue to extend support in the areas of rights, safe environment and indeed a sustainable industry,” she said.

Source: Daily Monitor

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Robusta coffee hits record high to trade at sh7,500 per kilo in Ibanda



Robusta coffee prices have continued their upward trend by gaining sh1,000 in value over the past month. 

Robusta is trading at a high of sh7,500 per kilogramme of quality beans in Ibanda, while traders quoted low-grade robusta coffee beans at sh7,200 per kilo.

This compares to sh6,500 a kilo four weeks ago and sh5,600 recorded two months back. The sh7,500 per kilo is the highest for Robusta coffee in a long time in Ibanda and surpasses the sh6,900 recorded during the last harvest season.

Deogratias Tihwayo, a coffee trader in Ibanda town, attributed the increase to the quality of this season’s coffee beans compared to previous seasons. He said this has attracted more buyers and, hence, pushed up the prices.

David Kiiza, the chairperson of Kashangura Coffee Co-operative in Kashungura, Kagongo Division, said farmers were observing the recommended agronomical practices that have improved quality and out-turn. 

Meanwhile, Arabica coffee was unchanged over the reporting period, trading between sh8,000 and sh8,500 per kilogramme in Ibanda town and Kashangura. Arabica coffee hit a record high of sh12,000 a kilo last season. 

However, there has been subdued demand over the past months with the crop out of season.

UCDA daily market prices

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicative figures for March 20 quoted robusta (clean) at between sh7,000 and sh8,000 a kilo, Arabica parchment sh8,500 – sh9,500, and Kiboko ranged from sh2,300 to sh2,600 per kilogramme, among others.

Source: New Vision

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Falling coffee prices, reduced output forecasts rattle Uganda farmers



There has been a slump in international coffee prices and shipping costs in the last quarter of 2022

Uganda’s coffee industry is walking into a challenging 2023 defined by falling prices and diminished output forecasts following the recent dry spell that hit major growing areas.

While the sector enjoyed a boom between 2020 and 2022 – with surging coffee prices, rising export volumes and considerable incomes for farmers – decline in international shipping costs and improved production forecasts in Brazil triggered a slump in coffee prices in the last quarter of 2022, according to industry players.

International shipping costs dropped from record highs of $10,000 per container charged on certain sea routes in January 2022 to less than $2,000. Shipping fees charged per 20-foot container ferried from Indonesia to North America, for example, are estimated at $800-$1,000 currently.

Consequently, local and international coffee prices have dropped since October 2022.

International robusta coffee prices fell from an average price of $2,400 per tonne to $1,856 per tonne towards the end of last year, according to industry data. Local robusta coffee prices declined from Ush7,200 ($1.9) per kilogramme to Ush5,800 ($1.6) per kilogramme during the second half of 2022 while Arabica coffee prices fell from Ush11,000 ($2.9) per kilogramme to Ush8,000 ($2) per kilogramme in the period.

In 2021, average coffee prices stood at more than Ush15,000 ($4) per kilogramme.

Dry spell

Robusta coffee production accounts for more than 60 percent of Uganda’s overall coffee output.

Besides gloomy coffee price forecasts for 2023, a severe dry spell in the past six months could pose a huge threat to coffee production levels. The weather affected major coffee-growing areas like the Central region and risks cutting this year’s output to around 5.5 million bags, industry players forecast.

“Brazil and Vietnam are headed for a bumper coffee harvest this year while India and Indonesia have discounted their local coffee prices in a way that has undercut Uganda’s growth momentum on the international market,” said Robert Byaruhanga, chief executive of local exporter Funzo Coffee Ltd.

Post-Covid shift

Asian and Latin American coffee exporters are regaining dominance in European and North American markets after the lockdown period because of the lower coffee prices, reduced freight charges, shorter port clearance turnaround times and reasonable coffee quality grades, Byaruhanga explained.

Ugandan farmers are now holding onto their coffee produce in anticipation of better prices.

Overall coffee exports stood at 6.26 million bags valued at $862.28 million in 2021/22 compared to 6.08 million bags worth $559.16 million registered in 2020/21, data from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority shows.

An estimated 447,162. 60 kilogramme bags of coffee valued at $64.1 million were exported in November 2022 at an average price of $2.39 per kilogramme — 6 US cents lower than the average price of $2.45 per kilogramme posted in October 2022.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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Over 40 goats die of PPR disease in Madi-Okollo



At least 43 goats have died of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) disease, also known as ‘goat plague’ and several others are undergoing treatment in Madi-Okollo district.

Madi-Okollo district veterinary officer, Dr Charles Onzima, says the viral disease, which is related to rinderpest in sheep as well as goats, has claimed the lives of goats in Olali parish in Ogoko sub-county.

He adds that PPR disease was confirmed in the district after 500 local and 94 Boer goats were supplied to families in Olali parish under a poverty eradication programme that he suspects infected the local goats.

43 of the boar goats died while 10 of the local goats of the communities also died of PPR disease.

Onzima says immediately after receiving information about the disease, the veterinary officers got the goats manifesting the signs of PPR that include sudden onset of depression, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, sores in the mouth, breathing difficulty and death among others.

He says that they have already had three rounds of vaccination for the available goats in the affected area.

Original Source: New Vision Via

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