Saturday, 29 December 2012

Nine companies bid to revive Kilembe Mines

News updated at E-Society Kasese
Story by By Faridah Kulabako

Nine companies have expressed interest to invest technical and financial resources to rejuvenate Kilembe Mines after decades of redundancy.
Speaking at a bids reception for the purchase of the mines on Saturday, Mr Jim Mugunga, the acting director Privatisation Unit, said bidders would be allowed to do due diligence to assess the needs and capital requirements to renovate and make the mine operational.
“Kilembe is a facility that closed many years ago and probably the equipment that was used in the 50s or 70s is no longer ideal today.
Bidders will evaluate and come up with the costing which they will present to government in their business plans,” Mr Mugunga said.
Kilembe Mines was established and incorporated as a mining company in 1950 and registered the highest copper production in the 70s when maximum output soared to an annual 17,000 tonnes.
The success, however, lasted until 1982, leaving the mine on a care-and-maintenance basis.
The company, owned 99 per cent by the government and 1 per cent by Toro Kingdom, is currently surviving on selling electricity.
However, government moved to rejuvenate the asset in November when the Privatisation Unit invited prospective buyers to confirm their interest for concession of the assets of Kilembe Mines, the company that operates the Kasese Copper Mine and a smelting plant in Jinja.
Mr Alex Kalimugongo, Team leader, Parastatal Monitoring Unit, Privatisation Unit said a successful bidder must have the technical mining capability that is required to restore the mine, must be able to raise the required capital and must have a good reputation.
Mr Mugunga said the request for proposals will be ready by January and the bidding process is expected to be completed by mid-next year.
The successful bidder will enter into a concession agreement with the government, take over the rehabilitation of assets, revive the mining activities and carry out further exploration activities.
Mr Fred Kyakonye, Kilembe Mines general manager was recently quoted saying years of redundancy have attracted encroachers who are stealing the property of the company, adding that presently, they spend much of their time frequenting court to battle over ownership claims of the assets such as land from encroachers.