UGANDA, Mayuge | Real Muloodi News | Persons affected by the extraction of Rare Earth Elements have been promised by the company that is implementing the project, Rwenzori Rare Metals, to be resettled starting next year.
The affected persons had asked Rwenzori Rare Metals to speed up the compensation that is supposed to be given to them before they embark on the project.
Richard Kaijuka, the chairperson of Rwenzori Rare Metals said that the affected persons will be relocated temporarily but will be resettled to decent homes, which the company will construct after the excavation of minerals.
Bernard Ochola, the Resettlement Action Plan head at Rwenzori Rare Metals has mentioned a timeframe within which the resettlement is to be made.
“We are going to resettle 50 households every year, starting in 2023; in Makuutu alone, there are about 500 households. Our priority is to ensure that before resettlement is done, there are good houses and land,” Mr Ochola said.
Mr Ochola said that the company plans to embark on construction in 2023 and start mining in 2024 when the affected persons are already resettled. It is envisaged that by 2025, they would have got facilities with good social services.
Since 2016, the developer company has been working on the Makuutu Rare Earth project in an area of 40 kilometres starting from Igombe and Makuutu Sub-counties in Bugweri District to Nakigo and Bulamagi Sub-counties in Mayuge District. This stretch has a total of around 5,000 homes.
A public meeting held at Makuutu allowed some household owners to interface with the developers of the land on which they are staying.
Peter Lokeris, the junior Minerals Development Minister disclosed that the development of the mining project requires access to land and support from the community and its leaders.
The laws of Uganda ensure that enough and fair compensation will be paid judiciously to all land owners.
“The ministry is aware that the development of Makuutu to project will create loss of benefits as well as Coporate Social responsibility as well as other direct benefits which come with such projects,” Lokeris said.
“The ministry is aware that the development of the Makuutu project will create lots of benefits to the community and the country in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility as well as other direct and indirect benefits which come with such projects,” said Mr Lokeris said.
The executive director of the National Environmental Management Authority NEMA, Dr Akankwansa Barirega, said that NEMA is carrying out an environmental impact assessment survey to find whether the project would have long-term harmful effects on the environment.
He added that NEMA will submit its findings to the relevant authorities after the survey is complete.
The Rwenzori Rare Metals country representative, Patience Singo said that they are expecting to extract 17 rare elements. They aim to establish a mine and process a marketable product. The government hopes to earn US$695 million from taxes if the production of minerals picks up in 2024.
READ MORE LIKE THIS: