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The Investors, who claim to have invested about US$ 7.5million, were granted an exploration license and a 20 year mining lease by Government for about 262 acres of land in Rugando, Kanungu District.
The area has an estimated 55 million tons of iron ore deposits, and the mining lease allows them to carry out mining on the scale of not less than 700, 000 tons annually against the local market demand of 84,000 tons annually.
Mbabazi reiterated government position on the ban of iron ore exports to support the development of the local steel industry and also promote the policy of adding value to Uganda’s exports.
He said the ban was meant to prevent the depletion of the iron ore resource since government is focusing on developing the iron and steel industry.
“We are endeavering to add value because it makes a difference in terms of revenue collection and employment opportunities,” Mbabazi clarified.
He said Uganda currently isn’t earning the anticipated revenue from Oil because government reached a decision to build a refinery rather than export crude oil.
“It is better to wait until we build the capacity to add value to our products before we export them rather than export raw materials,” Mbabazi said.
He also said Government plans to build a railway line connecting to the iron ore deposits and a gas pipe line to Lake Kivu in Rwanda to tap the gas which will be used as source of energy for industrial use.
Uganda has huge deposits of iron ore in the south western, eastern and north eastern parts of the country whose exploitation has been hampered by lack of sufficient infrastructure and energy.
The Premier said Government is going to engage all the relevant sectors to explore the available options regarding the development of the iron and steel industry in the country.
In another development, Prime Minister Mbabazi has met the African Development Bank Country representative Medjomo Coulibaly who briefed him about the upcoming Country Portfolio Performance Improvement Plan slated for next week.
The Premier and African Development Bank resident representative agreed to meet after the review to farther discussions on the framework for cooperation.
African Development Bank is supporting Uganda in areas such as: Infrastructure development, Health, Education, and Agriculture.
Others include: Energy, poverty eradication, good governance and the Private Sector.