President Yoweri Museveni’s preference for exporting refined minerals was on Tuesday reechoed in his State of the Nation Address when he said that Kilembe mines must produce 99.9% pure cathode copper rather than the 94% pure blister copper because the former can directly be used in the country’s cables industry.
The President also expressed his detest for importing copper ingots and export of raw minerals in general. “That was the case in the 1960s when we were producing and smelting copper but not to the final degree.”
“The Gold Refinery recently commissioned at Entebbe is a good example because the gold produced there is pure enough to be used in coins, jewellery, etc., directly. The steel from Sukulu (Tororo) will straight away go into the dams, the high-rise buildings, the railway, etc.”
The President had in the previous year’s banned the export of raw minerals because the country lost a lot of value. Stakeholders in the mining sector lobbied and the ban was lifted in 2016. The mining sector is yet to fulfill its potential as much attention is given to newly discovered oil and gas. Further exploration is yet to be done in many of the country.