HomeBUSINESSMuseveni commissions the tin factory, and warns investors against raw material exportation.

Museveni commissions the tin factory, and warns investors against raw material exportation.

Joshua Nahamya


Mbarara – President Yoweri Museveni has launched Uganda’s first tin refining plant in Ruti cell, Mbarara city south division.

According to Museveni, the unveiling of the first tin smelting plant is the successful battle he has witnessed to stop the exportation of raw minerals from Uganda.

Among the products extracted in the new refinery include; crude tin, slag, and refined tin among others.

During the commissioning of the tin refinery in Mbarara city on Friday, Museveni explained that “the situation of Africa since independence has been characterised by squanders of African wealth, uninformed and the traitors”.

“But when we came into leadership we said we cannot be involved into things we don’t understand instead we said that we are going to build an economy which is vertically integrated and horizontally adding that, in 1986 we had only Uganda dairy corporation that was producing about 50,000 litres of processed milk in the town and the milk which was drunk in the town was from Denmark but now Uganda is one of the biggest producers of milk in Africa with about like 5 bln litres of milk exporting.” He explained

He stressed that he recently launched a war to stop the exportation of minerals which he believes has worked with the manifestation of Woodcross resources in Mbarara that is adding value to tin rocks from Kikagati in Isingiro and Ntungamo district respectively.

“When it comes to minerals this is real betrayal, you can imagine the cassiterite (SnO2), a rock which has got 65% purity of tin in it being exported all this time and you have a commissioner of ignorance cited in office,” Museveni said

He therefore warned investors to either add value to the minerals or else leave the minerals rot down from the ground.

“When it came to the minerals that’s why we told them that if you do not want to add value here, we shall not allow you to export and I banned all the export of unprocessed minerals. Let the minerals stay in the ground, in any case they have been there for millions of years” Museveni said

He charged that “if the present leaders are stupid they can’t see how to do it, let them stay there until when more intelligent people come but I will not be part of the crime of stealing people”.

The president commended Woodcross’s resources for being Christians and for giving back to Ugandans rather than exporting all the raw materials.

“I am very happy to be here to witness another new victory in that war of liberating Africa from slavery. And I want to thank the young man for behaving like Christians in a fair way. Let the country which has got the mineral get the advantages of those minerals but you also get your share” Museveni said

He added that the production of tin in the country will attract other mega investments in Uganda.

“This tin is used as a substance for electricity conducting in computers, laptops, mobile phones but also it is anticorrosion and also softens malleability that’s why you will see big investments like making phones, computers and laptops coming here” Museveni explained

President Museveni canceled the rent of Woodcross resources of about 1.6 bln rent payable to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development when the factory was not exporting.

He also encouraged all the other tin miners to support the new factory with raw materials rather than exporting unprocessed tin.

On her part Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development warned people who have been involved in smuggling tin concentrates to the neighbouring countries to stop with immediate effect.

“Now that we have this factory here, I am going to swing in action with the police that we have, our staff, and the inspectors, to make sure that we curb the elicit of these unprocessed minerals that are being smuggled to our neighboring countries,” she said adding that, the factory is here it will need raw materials” she explained

Nankabirwa stressed that Uganda has in place the relevant laws such as the Minerals and Mining Act 2022 which introduced the production sharing agreement thus appealing to the miners to observe those laws in the mining sector.

“The national mining company which I am almost concluding, will be the one to represent the government to manage the 15% state participation in mining, therefore every investor who is going to invest in large scale mining company must abide by this legal framework,” Nankabirwa said

She also warned about canceling licences of investors who will man more than 6 mining sites which violates the Mining Act 2022.

“What I don’t want is greed where you find people from Mubende they are the ones you find in Ntungamo, Busia having more than the required 6 licences. You will hear that I have cancelled such licences so that other people can also be given an opportunity” Nankabirwa said

Nankabirwa also pledged to organize artisanal miners who have always been conflicting with each other in the mining sector.

“What I am left with is to organise the artisanal miners who used to come to the state house all the time complaining. We are just concluding the regulations for the artisanal miner licence and you will not here quarrels and battles that you used to here from the artisanal mining areas of Mubende-Kisita among others.” She explained

Meanwhile, Area MP Hon Mwine Mpaka said the new facility will not only be significant in adding value to raw materials but will also earn jobs for the youths in the city.

“I would also like to congratulate the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development led by Hon Nankabirwa for this wonderful achievement because it is not only going to add value to our raw materials but also provide employment,” he said adding that, when you look into that factory, purposely few people are going to get employed but there are thousands more in the mines that are going to get jobs” Mpaka explained

He asked the government to support the established investors who are adding value to Uganda’s raw materials, especially rocks from where tin comes from.

“This factory needs support we have often supported factories that have not shown us anything but at least this one we can see the little they are already doing,” he said adding that, during our security meetings we established that they are renting. So it is my humble request that we can degazette the neighboring forest into an industrial park where our investors can get land to construct such value-adding factories” Mpaka expressed

According to Omid Ameri, Managing Director of Woodcross Resources, the new facility currently employs about 40 people and provides a significant opportunity for a country like Uganda to establish a refinery like this and cement itself as the trusted producer of the refining chain in the global market

“Our goal is to establish a pan African tin refinery, the leading tin refinery in East Africa that crosses to 10,000 tons of tin refinery that will make Uganda the fourth largest export of refined tin” Ameri said

He said that the new factory has so far made 10 tons of refined tin ready for export thus appealing to the ministry to speed the processes of issuing a license to allow Woodcross to export its products to be able to get money for the cost of production.

“Our first consignment of refined tins of 10 tons is already available and ready to export, what we are kindly requesting is for the ministry to help us to put together the process within 5 days of consignment to be able to deliver our product to our buyers to be able to get money to buy more raw materials from the miners” Ameri explained

In the ability to create jobs, Ameri said that the project can also produce significant revenues for the country informing of royalties and attracting US dollars into the country.

He also appealed to the government to consider waiving taxes namely withholding tax, PAYE, and import duties on equipment that we bring in to carry out processes to allow the factory to have enough funds to do business.

“We would like you to consider waiving those taxes for about two years in order to retain cash on the business and employ more people and develop the mining licenses in order to bring more jobs to the miners and give them a very safe and productive way to carry on their work,” Ameri said

Tin is also produced in countries like China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru, and Brazil.

The function was attended by the ministers, MPs, permanent secretary Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, private sector foundation, religious leaders, investors, Mbarara city local leaders, and different authorities among others.



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