Reports from the Privatization Unit (PU), the body with the mandate to allocate government assets to independent developers, has announced that the $1 billion-value Kilembe Copper Mines is up for grabs and will go to a new operator by the end of April of 2013.
Jim Mugunga, the spokesman of PU said that his team has gone through the proper formalities and now the decision lies on the interested parties that have made the shortlist to battle it out and win the tender.
Though there has been court litigation against privatization of the national resource, five firms, three from China, one from Zambia and another from Australia have already undergone culling as the top five, in a tender notice that had earlier attracted two score firms.
How Ugandan Mines are Run
The story of Kilembe Mines is an exposé of what hides on the tip of the iceberg, for it has lain for the last 7 years subsequent to the abandonment by Uganda Gold Mining.
There was also an unstable political set up during the coup d’état-riddled 1980s, which is one of the reasons that works in the mines that straddles the border with DRC, in Western Uganda, had to halt. Another cause was the meager prices that the metal fetched during the same epoch.
The news of the re-admittance of the ore facility will be great for the economy since copper has experienced upward volatility reaching thousands of margins in the course of two decades to date.
Is there Still Ore?
Over a rotten machine, possibly a steel and not copper make, a miner, Felix Mugyema, appears in the Ugandan newspaper New Vision contemplating, with expectancy, the hilly surrounding with craters that cut deep into the crust of the earth with only a forlorn rail line before him to mark civilization. Whether the mine still has the potential to produce sufficient tons of the precious metal or not remains to be seen.
The happy news from the Department of Geological Survey and Mines is that the abandoned facility is not a defunct one and could contain ore worth 4m tones, 1.98% of which is the pure metal and 0.17%, cobalt.