By Markson Omagor
Eastern Uganda’s business Guru, Sanjay Tanna has been appointed Chairman Board of Directors, Kilembe Mines.
Tanna and 5 other Board Members were sworn in at the Ministry of Finance Boardroom on 14th September, 2022 in a ceremony graced by Hon. Evelyn Anite, the State Minister for Privatization and Investment and Hon. Peter Aimat Lokeris, the Minister of State for Minerals.
The other Board members are; Atwoki Gilbert Mujogya, Ruth Sengonzi, Semitala Nobert, Eric Chandiga and Hon. Biira Bwambale Loyce.
The members were challenged by outgoing board chair to revive Kilembe mines to its lost glory.
The company has been marred by low revenues, debts, court cases and lack of requisite investment by government.
Lokeris assured both outgoing and incoming board members that the government is ready to support the new board to improve revenue and bring in an investor to improve the mines. Lokeris cited improved copper and cobalt prices on the world market.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy, Eng. Pauline Irene Batebe expressed her concerns and pledged full support to the new board.
Tanna, in his acceptance speech pledged to consult the old board and the ministry officials to revamp the various revenue sources and make it attractive for the investors to put in money and make a value for money proposition.
This appointment follows government’s commitment to revamp the mines. Early this year, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa revealed that government had embarked on the redevelopment of Kilembe Mines.
She said the redevelopment is facilitated through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development together with the Estate of the Late Sir George David Kamurasi Rukiidi III, the management of Kilembe Mines Limited-KML and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
Kilembe mines located on the feet of Rwenzori Mountains was a major source of revenue for Uganda in the 1960s through 1970s. However, the mines suffered a setback in 1977 when Idi Amin Dada, then president of Uganda ordered Canadian investors to leave the mines in the hands of Ugandans.
Amin’s nationalization policy was also followed by a steep fall in the global prices of copper ore and high inflation hence leading to the closure of the mines in 1978. The mines have since been under the care and maintenance of KML until recent when the government started making several attempts at revival.
According to Nankabirwa, the redevelopment of Kilembe mines will have a catalystic effect on facilitating industrialization, offer significant employment opportunities and increase local and national revenue collections, a task the new Tanna Board is expected to do.
“It’s a priority of Government of Uganda in the Third National Development Plan 2020/21-2021/25 mineral Development Programme whose aim is to increase exploitation and value addition in selected resources for quality and gainful jobs in industrialisation,” the Minister said.
She also revealed that the prioritised minerals for NDP III include copper and Kilembe mines in Kasese.
Kilembe Mines was incorporated in the 1950s as a mining company, producing and exporting copper till the late 1970s, earning Uganda foreign exchange and employing a labour force of over 6,000.
Kilembe Mines stopped copper mining in the early 1980s. Since then, the company has been involved in power generation, metal fabrications and the manufacturing of machinery such as maize mills, hullers, window and door steel frames.
Treatment of fencing posts, electrical and telephone transmitting poles is also done here. These two sections are separated by River Nyamwamba.