Bags of cobalt stock pilings at Kilembe mines copper factory limited
The Workers of Kilembe Mines Limited in Kasese District have gone 14 months without getting paid.
The 131 members are currently responsible for caring and maintaining the defunct Kilembe mines cobalt factory.
It’s also understood that the board member’s allowances have not been paid in the last two years. The Manager Kilembe Mines, Fred Kyakonye Welaga says the current staff are helping to secure and maintain factory machines and the over 14 million tonnes of cobalt stockpiles.
He says the management is overwhelmed with payment demands adding that government has been reluctant to response to their call.
Welega is worried that the staff might opt to drug government to court while some might abscond from work which might risk the safety of the factory equipment’s.
He appeals to government to urgently find money for the workers and an investor so that operations can resume.
Olive Kahunde, one of the workers says it’s becoming difficult for them to routinely come to clean the machines when they are not being paid. She adds that their efforts to reach out to local leaders in the district had not yielded any good results.
While on her visit to the mines this week, the vice president Jesca Alupo directed the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development to find an investor so that operations can resume. She has also committed to present the key concerns including issues of salaries before the president for an immediate response.
Kilembe Mines was a major source of revenue for Uganda in the 1960s through 1970s but got a setback in 1977 when Idi Amin Dada, then as president of Uganda, ordered Canadians who were the investors to leave the mines in the hands of Ugandans. The mines closed in 1978 because of challenges.
In 2013, the government offered a 25-year concession to Tibet Hima Mining Company Limited to revamp the mines. But the concession was cancelled by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 2017 October on grounds that Tibet Hima had failed to execute its mandate as prescribed in the concession.