United World’s team sat with Mr. Tugume to discuss the latest trends in Uganda’s mining sector and the role it will play in the future of the country. With the vision of an executive trained internationally he shared with UW his views regarding East African Gold and its current projects.Can you share with us more information about your professional background?
I am a Chartered Accountant with strong working knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards, Canadian & US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and public company reporting requirements. Am currently the Financial Controller for East African Gold Ltd. I have previously served as a Senior Accountant and Supervisor at Smythe Ratcliffe LLP, Chartered Accountants in Vancouver, Canada focusing on several successful private and public sector mining companies all of which operate internationally and several with significant resource discoveries to their credit. I hold a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Accounting and Finance from Simon Fraser University, in Canada. I also spent a remarkable one-year in Melbourne, Australia providing assurance services to companies in the Australian mining sector which was a great experience.How was your entry at East African Gold?
Having worked in an audit firm for six years, I was ready for a change. And having enjoyed working for clients in the mining industry, I was intent in working for similar companies. The extractive industry takes one to the far corners of the world and at the same time needs ones participation in political, social and environmental issues, which I find interesting, challenging and adventurous. I was very fortunate to meet with Tom Sawyer, CEO of East African Gold at the Inaugural Annual Mineral Conference in Kampala and we had a very candid conversation in which we got to know each other and share our views about the industry, and the company felt like a perfect fit. After that talk I started working for them. Why were they interested in Uganda?
I believe that they saw the potential of Uganda. The country has had long periods of internal conflict. However, as the country became more stable and we started building new infrastructure, investors begun to look at the country´s potential in terms of mining. If you compare Uganda to neighbouring countries such as Congo, Tanzania or Kenya you can see that our mining industry lags behind, and that provides opportunities for investors to come and take advantage of of these opportunities. Uganda in general and the Karamoja region specifically is highly prospective for gold and other metals but remains under-explored, relative to its neighbours which provided an opportunity to come into the country.What is your vision regarding Uganda´s gold industry?
As Uganda’s infrastructure and human resources continues to develop, key considerations for investors, I believe we shall see many more players come into Uganda to take advantage of the budding exploration industry. The Ugandan government is reviewing its mining code and tax policies to ensure they are investor friendly and fostering bilateral relations between the government and the exploration companies to create long term economic values that benefit all stakeholders.
What do you need in order to fully develop these projects?
The company needs to carry out more exploration programs to define the resource. In addition, a drill program will also get underway with the objective of converting a portion of the resource into the measured category as we are yet to find the extent of the high-grade mineralization - both along strike and depth. How are you working with the local communities?
The Company has trained, to very high standards, our employees who are recruited from the local community in a variety of technical disciplines such as geologists, drilling and geophysicists. Our workers are provided with comprehensive health insurance and we employ local nurses to ensure their health and safety, as well as helping with their general wellbeing outside of working hours.Can you share with us your views regarding Uganda’s business environment?
Uganda is blessed with a number of factors;
1. Among the best gold endowments per square mile regionally
2. Stable political jurisdiction
3. Local and regional support and understanding of the mining industry
4. Upcoming high grade infrastructure which will make for low cost exploration and development in the near future
and because of these factors I feel that Uganda is a go to jurisdiction for both exploration and producing companies. However, Uganda’s tax policy has been quite aggressive for the exploration industry but the chamber of mines has lobbied the government remedy this and they understand our plight. What makes this company unique?
This is a company that is using modern exploration practises and techniques, it’s using advanced technology such as satellite imagery analysis, magnetometry, we have solid foundations for fieldwork and exploration work is carried out to international standards such as NI 43-101 and JORC compliantIn which areas do you see areas for increasing collaboration with American companies?
There are opportunities for American gold companies to come to Uganda and help us unlock our potential. We are open for partnerships.Can you define East African Gold in one sentence?
East African Gold is a transparent company that employs the best practices in the industry with potential for high grade gold deposits.