Tough conditions delay Rubanda iron ore factory

Dec 08, 2020

This land was endorsed by the Rubanda District Council in 2018 to pave way for the plant valued at USD 200 million ( 735 billion shillings).

The tough conditions set by an investor who wants to set up a multi-billion Iron Ore Smelting plant in Rubanda district have delayed the project, authorities have revealed.

In March 2019, Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and political leaders from Kigezi Sub-region led officials from Devki Group of Companies, a company that was authorised to establish a factory to inspect a 250-acre piece of public land located in Kabirizi, Kanyamatembe and Kishaki villages in Rubanda town council where the factory will be established.

This land was endorsed by the Rubanda District Council in 2018 to pave way for the plant valued at USD 200 million ( 735 billion shillings).

The factory which is in fulfillment of a 2016 presidential pledge remains unestablished due to the tough conditions set by the investor.

According to Eng. Dennis Sabiiti, the Rubanda West Member of Parliament, the investor requested a high voltage power line that is not yet available in the region.

"He wanted a voltage line with a minimum of 132KV which is not yet here. The nearest power line with such strength is in Mbarara. We are waiting for the government to extend that towards this area," he said.

Sabiiti said if such a power line comes to the Kigezi region, power shortages will be greatly solved.

Another condition according to Sabiiti that has made it hard for factory construction to commence is the lack of enough gas or coal in the country.

"We look forward to the gas pipeline that will be constructed from the Albertine region up to Tanzania. This pipeline will enable the country to get enough gas that can run this factory," he said.

Sabiiti is optimistic that the government could solve the conditions in about two years and make the long-awaited promise possible.

"Once this factory is built, it will employ between 6000 to 10000 people which is a big advantage to the population that has been crying of unemployment," he added.

Sabiiti and other NRM leaders in the district were addressing the press after a meeting that was aimed at planning for the forthcoming elections and the presidential visit on December 12.

According to data from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, geological surveys conducted between 2006 and 2008 confirmed the existence of 250 million tons of Iron ore deposits in the Kigezi region pending extraction.

Available data indicates that Iron ore deposits were mostly discovered in Kanungu district, Bukimbiri in Kisoro District, Muko, Nyamiringa, and Nyamweru sub-counties in Rubanda district and Buhara Sub County in Kabale district.  The ore discovered in the Kigezi region is graded at 60 percent iron.

Henry Musasizi, the Rubanda West Member of Parliament said that as residents wait for the fulfillment of this pledge, they should continue supporting the NRM party since it has citizens at heart.

"If you look at the NRM manifesto, you will bear with me that it is the only party that is focused on Ugandans welfare. We must support this party from the president to the ground level if we surely need development to occur," he said.

Musasizi warned party members against supporting independent candidates which contravene the party interests.

"If you are NRM, you must be ready to support the party flag bearers without fail. NRM will definitely deal strongly with party members who will be found supporting other candidates apart from our own," he said.

Prossy Akampurira Begumisa, the Rubanda district Woman Member of Parliament said that party leaders will be moving in villages to campaign for the flag bearers and also to seek for community concerns that will be presented to the president during his campaign meetings.

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