By Vision Reporter
China Machine Building International Corporation (CMIC), a Chinese government company, has pledged to establish a US$100 million iron ore mining and integrated steel plant in Mbarara district. The plant is expected to be fully operational in 18 months.
This was disclosed by the General Manager of the Chinese company, Li Fengshan in a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhuura district on Saturday.
Welcoming the Chinese delegation, Museveni emphasized the importance of the steel project and said it would go a long way in spurring the much needed development of the infrastructure in Uganda.
“We need a steel industry very badly because the government does a lot of construction works, especially the construction of dams that needs fresh steel,” he noted.
The President further told the Chinese guests that once the steel industry is established, transport costs for steel, would be reduced drastically.
Major problems facing the Ugandan steel industry are primarily low product quality and quantity and shortage of raw materials. Uganda is home to proven high quality iron ore resources in the Eastern and South Western Regions exceeding 100 million tons.
Uganda’s steel and iron industry has also been growing at unprecedented rates averaging over 30% and 40% per annum for imports and exports respectively mainly due to the booming housing and construction sector in the country itself and the region as a whole.
Steel demand in Uganda that is estimated at over 150,000 tons per annum is well above the actual steel production of over 60,000 tons per annum.