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The facility’s establishments align seamlessly with Uganda’s overarching vision for its mineral sector, as outlined in the Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2018 and subsequent legislative frameworks.

Uganda’s Mineral Sector will Soar With the Launch of Woodcross Tin Smelting Factory

When an industry is set up locally to add value, it not only gives more value for money but also offers employment opportunities for the locals and ensures revenue support for other utilities like water and electricity, among other benefits.
posted onMay 7, 2024
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By Patricia Litho

In a momentous occasion attended by dignitaries and stakeholders alike, Uganda marked a significant stride in its mineral sector with the official presidential launch of a tin smelting facility at Ruti, Mbarara. The factory is owned by Woodcross Resources, a locally based firm.

As President Yoweri Museveni shared his vision and commitment to value addition and industrialization, I finally understood what the president had been on when he banned the export of unprocessed minerals, including tin.

When an industry is set up locally to add value, it not only gives more value for money but also offers employment opportunities for the locals and ensures revenue support for other utilities like water and electricity, among other benefits.

His commitment to value addition was not just made evident by his presence at the launch of the facility; but he went ahead and made a pronouncement that all tin mined in the country be channeled to the smelter in Ruti, Mbarara, for processing; unless a similar facility is set up in the country that can equally process pure tin at 99.95% concentrate.

The President pointed out that such levels of tin purity can directly be used by our local industries and can also be exported at a much higher value. Tin, a versatile metal used in numerous industries from glass production to electronics, represents a vital component of Uganda’s mineral wealth.

Uganda boasts abundant mineral resources with over 27 varieties including gold, copper, cobalt, tantalite, tungsten, and more. Among these treasures, tin holds a significant place, with deposits found in various districts, including Ntungamo, Isingiro, Mbarara, Kabale, and Kisoro.

The journey towards harnessing Uganda’s mineral potential has been long-standing, with tin mining dating back almost a century in southwestern Uganda. However, the sector has largely remained artisanal and small-scale, lacking systematic evaluation and value addition. The recent inauguration of the tin smelting facility signals a transformative shift, catalysing in-country value addition, employment creation and industrialization.

The facility’s establishments align seamlessly with Uganda’s overarching vision for its mineral sector, as outlined in the Mining and Mineral Policy for Uganda 2018 and subsequent legislative frameworks.

These policies emphasize mineral value addition, competitive bidding, government participation through entities like the Uganda National Mining Company, and robust environmental and social governance strategies.

Uganda’s commitment to international standards is evident through its implementation of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Certification Mechanism. The recent launch of the mineral certification mechanism underscores Uganda’s dedication to responsible mineral exploitation and compliance with international obligations.

The Woodcross tin smelting facility, spearheading the tin-smelting venture, has already acquired ICGLR certification, positioning itself as a beacon of responsible and sustainable mineral processing.

With a production capacity of 1,000 tonnes of tin ingots per year and an investment of two (2) million dollars, the facility promises to significantly contribute to Uganda’s GDP, which already sees a 2.2 percent contribution from the mineral sector, according to a 2023 report by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).

The collaborative efforts between the Government, private sector, and local communities underscore Uganda’s holistic approach toward mineral sector development. As the nation marches towards its Vision 2040, initiatives like the tin smelting facility represent tangible steps toward economic transformation and prosperity for all Ugandans.

The launch of the tin smelting facility stands as a testament to Uganda’s unwavering commitment to unlocking the full potential of its mineral wealth. With a stable legal framework, a conducive investment climate, and a shared vision for sustainable development, Uganda’s mineral sector is poised for unprecedented growth and success in the years to come.

The writer is Assistant Commissioner Communication and Information Management in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

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