BY ALEX BALUKU
KASESE: MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2021
Charles Sibyabugha Kahindo, the Kasese Municipality Mayor, hasacclaimed the move by the government to revive copper mining at Kilembe in Rwenzori region.
Kahindo said in addition to copper, Kilembe mines is rich with many other types of high value minerals that a revamp would open a revenue stream for both the local governments and the central government.
His comments follow a recent visit to the mines by officials led by the state Minister for Investment, Evelyn Anite, who made a plain case to revive the mines.
“If the government is able to revamp the mines, it would have scored 100% in achieving its development goals for this district and the region,” Kahindo asserted.
Kilembe mines is Uganda’s largest copper mine with estimated deposits of copper in excess of 4,000,000 tones and an undetermined amount of cobalt ore while an approximately 2,800 acres of minefield is still unexplored.
During her visit to the mines on August 19, Anite disclosed that as many as 21 prospective investors were showing interest to invest in Kilembe ahead of an official call for bids by the government.
She said that there may be need to contract at least two investors in order to redevelop the mines.
Kahindo said should that redevelopment happen, it will lead to revenue enhancement and creation of jobs for the communities.
The mines at Kilembe had been under the management of Kilembe Mines Ltd (KML), a joint venture formed by two Canadian mining companies, Frobisher Limited and Ventures Limited in July 1950.
It built and operated a copper smelter in Jinja and maintained offices in Kampala while constructing a housing estate for staff in Kasese and the 5MW Mubuku I Power Station in the Rwenzori Mountains.
In 1962 KML was acquired by Falconbridge of Africa who sold it to the Government of Uganda in 1975.
Copper extraction ceased in 1982 due to dilapidated equipment, high inflation and insecurity.
In 2013, after nearly 30 years of dormancy and after several failed attempts to privatize the mine, a consortium led by Tibet-Hima Mining Company Ltd won the competitive bid to manage, rehabilitate and operate Kilembe Mines for 25 years.
However that contract was canceled in 2018 by the government due to inactivity.
A successful operationalization, said Kahindo, would enable the government to properly manage the entire Nyamwamba Valley with all its mineral riches.