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By Godfrey Olukya  23-4-2014

Plenty of Uranium has been discovered in Uganda but currently the country lacks capacity and expertise to exploit it, Uganda’s national newspaper, ”The New Vision” has reported.

The newspaper quoted Uganda’s minister of water and environment, Ephraim Kamuntu, who was recently on visit to Asia saying that Uganda has Uranium and other minerals but need partners to help it start the exploitation.

He said that Uganda is seeking India’s know-how to develop its reserves and open up new vistas of energy cooperation between historically linked countries.

Ephraim Kamuntu, said his country was keen on mutually beneficial cooperation with India to develop energy resources.

“Uganda is sitting on a pile of uranium, for instance, and Indian knowhow would be very useful in accessing this,” Kamuntu said in an interview. “We have uranium, oil and gas. India with its knowhow and expertise can help,” he added.

Explaining that Uganda had to increase manifold its energy generation capacity to achieve the status of a middle-income country, Kamuntu said India had a lot to offer in this regard.

“The sun is directly overhead in equatorial Africa, yet in Uganda only 14 per cent of the population has access to electricity. The remaining 86 per cent go to bed with sunset. What would you expect about this population,” the minister asked rhetorically.

Uganda has been in talks with India about accessing its uranium reserves and for India training its engineers in this area. Uganda’s planning minister had earlier led a business delegation to India that held talks with the Confederation of Indian Industry on developing Uganda’s uranium sector, among others.

With nuclear energy becoming an important source in India’s potential energy mix, and with its own comparatively modest reserves, India has been discussing uranium purchase from various African countries.

On the other hand, with Africa emerging as an important supplier of uranium, many countries of the continent have shown interest in doing business with India. These include South Africa, the only African member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Namibia, which produced 4,000 tonnes of uranium in 2012. India has signed a uranium agreement with Namibia as well as a protocol in 2011 for supplying the mineral.

Other uranium-rich African countries keen to cooperate with India include Tanzania, Malawi, Mali and Niger.

Uranium is used, among others, to manufacture extensively destructive bombs
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