Tin in Uganda is found in its ore known as cassiterite. It has a number of uses that include coating other metals to avoid rusting. It is used with lead to make solder and when it is mixed with copper it makes bronze. Tin was the first mineral to be mined in Uganda in 1927. During the period between 1927- 1960 Uganda exported 9,518 tons of tin concentrate worth 2,179,890 pounds. Tin exports by Uganda from 1937-1960 brought in revenue close to 1.5 million pounds (Alaba, 1997).
Tin is found in a series of schists, argillites and arenites of the Karagwe-Ankolean system that spans as far as Zimbabwe and eastern Democratic republic of Congo. The rocks are considered about 1300-1400 million years old according to age dating. As the cassiterite is mainly found in hydrothermal and pegmatitic vein, it is estimated that the formation of the veins was around 900-600 million years.
Systematic evaluation of the cassiterite in Uganda has not taken place however, Byamugisha and Alaba place the quantity of cassiterite at Mwerasandu at 120,000-135,000 tons of coarse tailings and 195,000-210,000 fine tailings (Alaba, 1997).
Tin In Uganda occurs in the following places Kikagati, Mwerasandu, Rwemikoma, Nyamaherere, Kitezo, Kyamugashe, Kaina, Ngoma, Burama ridge, Ruhuma, Byasa, Ndaniyankoko (Katto, 1997).
Currently there are 3 companies with mining leases for tin with one location license. In 2016 41 tons of tin were mined while in 2015, 180.3 tons were mined. The reason why there was a drop in production is not explained. Most of the tin produced in Uganda is exported and the royalty paid for export is 5% of the gross value of the mineral produced in cognizance of its purity as according to the Mining Act 2003 and Mining Regulations 2004.
The systematic evaluation of tin in Uganda has not been undertaken and as a result, it is difficult to have a reliable estimate of the total resource. It is expected that with the evaluation, tin beneficiation will be easy to achieve rather than export the cassiterite. This is expected to improve the livelihoods of all those involved in the process if tin mining.
Role of the Office of the Auditor General in Mining
The Office of the Auditor General does not directly audit the mining in Uganda. The mining Industry in Uganda is regulated under the Mining Act 2003 and the Mining regulations 2004. The Directorate of Geological surveys and Mining under the Ministry of Energy and Mineral development regulates the mining sector in Uganda.
The Office of the Auditor General undertakes financial and VFM audits on the Ministry and in the process it audits the activities of the Directorate. The Mining act requires the mining company to submit monthly reports of all activities to the directorate. The OAG acquires this information and this is what is used during the audits.
Alaba, B. S. (1997). Tin and Tungsten Oppotunities in Uganda.
Katto, E. (1997). Tin occurances in Uganda.
By Henry Luwemba