VENTURES AFRICA – China’s Gingko Energy Company has revealed plans to invest $100 million to revive production at Kilembe copper mine in western Uganda.
Gingko Energy’s chairman, Lin Rui Hui revealed the investment plans to Uganda President Yoweri Museveni of the investment on Friday. Officials of the East African country’s president’s office also confirmed that the $100 million Chinese investment would span a five-year period.
Uganda’s Department of Geological Survey and Mines said that the Kilembe copper mine has an estimated 4 million tonnes of ore. With 1.98 percent estimated to be pure copper and 0.17 percent cobalt.
Production at Kilembe peaked in the 1970s at around 18,000 tonnes of copper cathode a year. However, the mine was abandoned in the early 1980s due to political turmoil and a fall in copper prices.
There has been a rousing interest amongst investors with the rebouding of the prices of the metal. At the London Metal Exchange benchmark three-month copper futures were trading at around $8,400 a tonne on Monday.
Formerly operated by Canada-based Falconbridge Ltd, which was later acquired by Xstrata, in recently years, the government has been seeking an investor to resume production at Kilembe.
China has been heavily involved in investments across the East African sub-region funding several transport and communications infrastructure projects in East Africa. In Uganda, work on a $350 million toll road linking Entebbe international airport to the capital, Kampala, is due to begin in July.