The first of two conferences of potential money donors opened in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Wednesday (25 July) to discuss reconstruction of Uganda's shattered economy.
The first of two conferences of potential money donors opened in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Wednesday (25 July) to discuss reconstruction of Uganda's shattered economy. Uganda's Finance Minister, Mr Jack Sentongo, chaired the conference, which was attended by representatives of friendly governments and international organisations. The conference follows recent assurances that President Godfrey Binaisa gave potential investors, saying his government was not as leftist as it had been painted. The government is seeking outside help, for instance, to rehabilitate Kilembe Copper Mines in western Uganda. There is already much overseas interest in joining the government in a scheme to extract cobalt from the one million tons of pyrite tailings that have accumulated at the mine during the past twenty-five years. With a cobalt content of almost one and a half percent, the pyrite contains some fourteen thousand tons of cobalt, worth more than seven hundred million dollars at current producer prices.
SYNOPSIS: In the early 1970s, the company carried out feasibility studies on commercial production of cobalt, which is a waste material yielded from copper production.
Plans to built a cobalt recovery plant were scrapped when cobalt prices plummeted on world markets. Prices, which had slumped as low as two dollars a pound in 1972, soared last year after Zaire declared a moratorium on its production because of fighting in Shaba province.
Since Zaire produces sixty percent of the world's output, its decision pushed the world prices up beyond forty dollars a pound, a revived the Kilembe management's interest.
The company plans to ask the new Ugandan government either to put up the developed capital itself, or to seek it abroad. The existing plant is more than twenty years old. The government estimates it would cost about fifteen million dollars to put the mine and smelting works into top working order.
Representatives of foreign mining interests have already looked over the mine which has been working intermittently, producing a meagre output of copper -- at best two hundred tons a month.