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Cabinet Approves Redevelopment Of Idle Kilembe Mines

Cabinet has approved the redevelopment of Kilembe Mines with the main objective of stimulating economic development in Kasese district.

This was revealed by Ofwono Opondo, the Government Spokesperson while addressing the media at Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday about the Cabinet decisions taken on Monday 1st April, 2019at Office of the President on Sir Apollo Kaggwa Road, Kampala.

Opondo, who doubles as the Executive Director, Uganda Media Centre highlighted the main objective of this decisn as “Rehabilitation of the assets and resuscitation of Kilembe mining operations so as to contribute to the general economic development of the Kilembe /Kasese area in Uganda.”

He added that it is also aimed at undertaking further mineral exploration to add to the known reserve base, thereby enhancing the viability of mining operations;

He added that the move will also attract Private Sector Capital, Management, and technical expertise, with a commitment to install efficient and modern technology to maximize the future Kilembe Mines Limited operating results.

“It is aimed at encouraging partnership between the Government of Uganda, the private sector and Ugandans in revamping of mining activities at Kilembe,” he said, adding that it will also create employment opportunities for Ugandans and enhance Community Development and Local empowerment.
During the 1970s, production at Kilembe peaked at around 18,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year. However, Amin’s nationalisation policy led to things falling apart and also saw most expatriate workers, especially Asians – many of whom were Ugandan citizens – flee.
The mines ceased operations in 1978 as a result of the political strife coupled with a steep fall in prices of copper ore. From 1978 to 1982, the mines were placed under care and maintenance of Kilembe Mines Limited (KML), a state-owned company. In 1992, Kasese Cobalt Company Ltd was also established to recover cobalt from an unstable stockpile of a cobalt-rich sulphide concentrate, and see if one of the units could be converted to smelt copper and other metals.

In September 2013, government entered into a concession agreement with Tibet Hima Mining Company (THMCOL) to run the mines.

However, THMCOL’s concession for Kilembe mines was terminated in 2017 on orders of  President Yoweri Museveni and as per the recommendations of the winding-up commission, which was established to study the salient issues leading to THMCOL’s non-performance.

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Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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