New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Firms Show Interest in Reviving Mines

A Ugandan firm is among nine companies that have expressed interest in the rehabilitation of the Kilembe mines in Kasese. The other eight that submitted bids which were opened on Friday at the Privatisation Unit offices are from the UK, China, Canada, Australia and Zambia.

The opening of the bids marks an end to the first phase of the project, in which the Privatisation Unit invited the expression of interest in the one-time shining mine. At the start of last month, companies were invited to re-confirm their interest; the deadline was then extended to the period of November 21 to December 15.

Jim Mugunga, the public relations officer of the Privatisation Unit, which is under the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, said Kilembe Mines was being offered as a whole.

"We are going to go through an evaluation in January, and then we will come up with a Request for Proposal in the same month," he said of the next phase of the project.

A detailed document, the Request for Proposal, will require the nine bidders to give their detailed business, investment and operation plans for the re-development of the mines.

Thereafter, the Government will carry out due-diligence on the credentials of each bidder to make sure that they have the technical, financial ability and the reputation to successfully execute the rehabilitation.

"Our target is to conclude the whole procurement process by the end of next year," Mugunga said.

Privatisating Unit's Moses Mwase says the re-development of Kilembe mines is timely as the copper prices are on the rise.hereafter, the Government will carry out due-diligence on the credentials of each bidder to make sure that they have the technical, financial ability and the reputation to successfully execute the rehabilitation.

"Our target is to conclude the whole procurement process by the end of next year," Mugunga said.

Privatisating Unit's Moses Mwase says the re-development of Kilembe mines is timely as the copper prices are on the rise.

"International demand for copper has been picking up for the last four to five years. A kilo of copper is now between sh7,000 and sh8,000," he said.

Mwase revealed that the known mineral deposits in the mines can be extracted for up to seven years. The re-development of the mines also includes the mining of the unrevealed deposits.

Currently, Kilembe mines, which was established and incorporated in Uganda as a mining company in 1950, only carries out care and maintenance works at the mines.

A one-time cash cow for the Ugandan economy, political upheaval and a drastic fall of global prices in the early 1980s masterminded the end of mining activity in Kasese.

The firms include:

Shumuk Investment Ltd (Uganda)

Springwood Capital/Worley Parsons (UK)

Kombat Copper (Canada)

Konkola Copper Mines plc (Zambia)

Shree Minerals Ltd ((Australia)

Tibet Hima Group (China)

Wharton (UK)

Gingko Energy Investment Co. Ltd (China)

Sinosteel (China)

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