Mining in Uganda is generally focused on extraction of cobalt, gold, copper, iron ore, tungsten, steel, tin and other industrial products such as cement, diamonds, salt and vermiculite. Limestone is sold in local markets whereas gold, tin, and tungsten are major exports.
The country’s mining history is recorded in the 1920s with work done at southwest Uganda’s tin and tungsten deposits. In the following decade, gold mining began near Busia. In the 1950s, the Kilembe copper mine was developed and it became the country’s largest mine.
The 1950s and 1960s was an important phase for mining when it had a 30 percent contribution to the total exports of the nation. During the late 1980s, laying of roads led to increase in demand for construction material. The National Mining Commission was formed in 1988. Uganda has moved to rehabilitate the Kilembe copper mine which is also expected to contain commercially viable Cobalt.
A lot of the mining in Uganda is done by artisans using crude tools and sometimes bare hands, however the government is actively seeking to attract professional and industrial mining and has so far done mapping of mineral deposits such as limestone and phosphates in Tororo in the East of the Country and Iron Ore deposits in the South Western Region of Kigezi.
Granite is widely available across the whole country and has received a steady market of the construction and real estate business. Granite is crushed into aggregate stones, hardcore, wall cladding and beautiful ornamental finishing to buildings. It has mostly been mined near urban centers which have a large market of construction.
Another building material that is mined is sand which is mined near wetlands and in open pits, this is being regulated to mitigate its effects on the environment.
Mineral deposits found across Uganda include Beryl in Bushenyi District, Chromite and Gold in Karamoja, Iron Ore in Kigezi region, Busia, Mbarara, and Mayuge districts, Lead in Ibanda District, Graphite in Nebbi and Kitgum Districts.