By Raymond Baguma
President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that Uganda is targeting to import coal from Mozambique to support the development of its vast iron ore reserves.
Mozambican President Armando Guebuza concluded a visit to Uganda during which he attended the 51st Independence Day anniversary celebrations in Rukungiri district.
During the celebrations Museveni said, “We have iron ore but don’t have coal. Mozambique has coal and they are working on infrastructure. We shall have to buy coal from them to work on our iron ore.”
Iron is derived from ore through a reduction process to remove oxygen. This reduction process can be aided with the use of natural gas or carbon-based agents such as coal.
President Guebuza said that while Mozambique and Uganda are historically linked politically, the link could soon also become commercial.
Guebuza noted that with stability, Uganda has recorded remarkable development with observable presence of public and private infrastructure and moving towards prosperity thanks to Museveni’s enlightened leadership and determination to press progress as a national priority.
The two countries – Uganda and Mozambique – are on the cusp of an economic boom after discovering oil and gas.
Uganda has also got confirmed huge deposits of iron ore in Muko, located in the southwestern district of Kabale, straddling to Kisoro; as well as the eastern region district of Tororo in the areas of Sukulu and Bukusu.
Museveni added, “We have gas and it can be used to remove oxygen from the iron ore. But we shall see which is cheaper in terms of economics.”
This comes after the recently opened a sh320 billion Roofings Steeling Rolling Mill, is seeking a license to venture into iron ore mining.
Last year, Government banned iron ore exports in a bid to support the development of the local steel industry.
This was in line with the plan to reconstruct the railway line using locally manufactured steel products, as well as increasing demand for steel products in the construction sector.