Uganda - Mining

Mining and quarrying in FY 1999/2000 accounted for 0.7% of Uganda's GDP, which grew by 5.1%, 7.4% in 1998/99, and5.4% in 1997/98. Mining and quarrying grew by 5% in 1999/2000 and, from 1995/96 to 1999/2000, by 20.6% per year. Gold was the fourth-leading export commodity in 2002, and cement production was the nation's fifth-ranking industry. In recent years, Uganda has been known to produce cobalt (95% of which was exported), gold, limonite and other iron ore, niobium, steel, tantalum, tin, tungsten, apatite, gypsum, kaolin, brick clays and other clays, hydrated lime, quicklime, limestone, pozzolanic materials (used for pozzolanic cement), and salt (by evaporation of lakes and brine wells).

Mine gold output (metal content) in 2000 was 56 kg, up from 5 in 1999; gold production began in 1992. Limestone output, for use in cement, was 253,032 tons in 2000, 121,524 in 1999, and 919,353 in 1997. Limestone resources at the largest deposits—Hima, Tororo Hill, and Bukiribo—totaled 46.1 million tons. Output of hydraulic cement was 380,000 tons, up from 175,046 in 1996; and columbium-tantalum (from tailings) was 2,712 tons. In addition, Uganda presumably produced copper content of slag, corundum, garnet, gemstones, gravel, marble, ruby, sand, and vermiculite. No gypsum, tungsten, or wolfram was produced in 2000. Extraction of copper was halted in 1980, after reaching a high of 18,000 tons in 1964.

The Namekhela high-quality vermiculite deposit had resources of 5 million tons. Pyrochlore resources amounted to 6 million tons. Iron ore resources in Sukulu were 45.7 million tons at an average grade of 62% iron; the Muko deposit, worked by artisanal miners, contained 30 million tons at a grade 61–67% iron; and there were additional resources at Kyanyamuzinda, Metuli, Mugabuzi, and Wambogwe. Inferred resources of wolframite were 20 million tons; gypsum deposits totaled 5.5 million tons; marble resources, 10 million tons; the Sukulu phosphate deposit had resources of 230 million tons; and there were occurrences of silica sand deposits. The abandoned Kilembe copper mine had proven reserves of 5 million tons, and its tailings contained 5.5 million tons. A pilot study in 1991 attempted to process the tailings for cobalt and copper, using a natural strain of bacteria to separate the cobalt metal.

The United Nations Security Council accused Ugandan government officials, military officers, and businessmen of illegally exploiting columbium, diamond, gold, and tantalum from Congo (Kinshasa); the Ugandan government denied the accusations.

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