Proposed changes to the law on access to land for mining in Uganda, in whose interest: landholder or investor?


Mining activities require large tracts of land and directly affect communities living around a mining project. As a developing country seeking to capitalise on its mineral wealth, Uganda is making changes to its laws on access to land for mining. These include a Mining and Minerals Bill 2021 and a Land Acquisition Bill 2018. This paper analyses these proposed laws to address the question, in whose interest are the changes? Do they benefit the landholders and their communities, and/or do they benefit investors? The provisions of the proposed laws are reviewed, and a qualitative methodology used to conduct legal analysis of the laws, policies, and existing literature using examples from a global perspective. This paper focuses on three main developments of Land Use Agreements, compulsory acquisition of land, and in the context of other land use. It concludes that access to land for mining should be a balance between the interests of both landholders and investors; and further, that the provisions of the proposed laws should be implemented in such a way to achieve that balance as doing so facilitates the sustainable development of mining, minerals and metals.