Uganda survey reveals US$15.6bn iron ore deposits

Geoffrey Muleme Uganda survey reveals US15.6bn iron ore depositsThe Ugandan government has announced the discovery of 116mn tonnes of iron ore worth US$15.6bn

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said the deposits were discovered and quantified following a series of recent airborne geophysical surveys.

In its latest review of the country’s mineral sector, the ministry said the new ore reserves were discovered at Buhara (48mn tonnes), Nangara (six million tonnes) and Rugando (55million tonnes); all in south-western Uganda.

“More than 200mn tonnes of iron ore are now proven to exist in the region,” the ministry stated, adding that vermiculite reserves at Namekhara in eastern Uganda had increased from five million tonnes to 54.9mn tonnes, with a gross value of US$11.5bn.

Limestone and marble reserves in the country have also increased from the previously discovered 30mn tonnes to more than 300mn tonnes after quantifying reserves in Karamoja, north-eastern Uganda, the government said.

The review shows that a total of 7.8mn ounces of gold which have been proven to exist in Busia, Kamalenge, Mashonga, Kampano and Alupe have a gross value of US$11.5bn dollars.

Kilembe mines and Sukulu phosphates projects are both undergoing further appraisal, with production expected to commence on both in 2016.

Kilembe mines’ developer has re-established the reserves of 4,527mn tonnes of ore with a grade of 1.598 per cent copper.

The Sukulu Phosphate Comprehensive Industrial Development Project being carried out by M/S Guangzhou Dong Song Energy Group Ltd of China, was granted a mining lease in December 2014 after a feasibility study indicated a phosphorous rate of 34.73 per cent and iron recovery 19.69 per cent.

According to the ministry, a total of 818 licenses and certificates were operational by the end of 2014, of which, 179 were prospecting licenses, 125 were exploration licenses, 14 were location licenses and 70 were mineral dealers licenses.

Geoffrey Muleme

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