Kasese district leaders have welcomed the approval of a plan to
redevelop and rehabilitate Kilembe Mines in Kasese.
Last week, cabinet approved the redevelopment plan of the mines
which, among other things, calls for the expeditious sourcing of potential
investors in the copper mines.
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.
Amin's nationalisation policy was also followed by steep fall in the global
prices of copper ore hence leading to the closure of the mines in 1978.
However, in 2013, 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.
Throughout 2018, leaders and other residents of Kasese made a lot of advocacy
for the need to revamp the mines which also attracted the attention of the
chief coordinator Operation Wealth Creation Gen Salim
Saleh then met different stakeholders on how fast the copper mines can be
revamped, a move that culminated into the cabinet approval of the plan last
Ruth Kabugho, the secretary for social services at Kasese district says the
approval was long overdue. She says the redevelopment of the mines will see
Kilembe, which had grown into a major town in Western Uganda, regain her glory.
Kabugho, however, says there is need for government to involve all stakeholders
especially residents and leaders from Kasese within the implementation of the
plan so that the challenges of the community are properly captured.
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Richard Bomera the Bulembia Division councillor concurs with
Kabugho that there is need for involvement of the local leadership to
appreciate the community concerns.
Bomera says one of the challenges which remain sticky is land wrangles that
have since ensued between the residents and Kilembe mines limited that must be
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Bomera also quickly adds that once revamped, the mines will see more than ten
thousand people acquire employment and subsequently boast not only the economy
of the district but also that of the entire country.
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But Alex Masereka, the Kasese district planner quickly appeals to the people of
Kasese, especially the youth, to equip themselves with technical skills if they
are to benefit from the job opportunities that will come with the redevelopment
of the copper mines.
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Masereka adds that once redeveloped, the mines will also work as a mining
tourism destination which will enable the district get more revenue from the