Investors have started plans to construct a multi-billion iron ore smelting plant in Rubanda District.
The factory which was a 2016 presidential pledge has remained unfulfilled up to date. In 2019, the Devki Group of Companies from India led by its chairman Raval Guru Narendra, expressed interest in establishing the plant on a 250-acre piece of land located in Kabirizi, Kanyamatembe, and Kishaki villages in Rubanda town council.
However, construction of the plant stalled after a section of Catholics from Kabale Diocese accused the then-district officials of giving out land that belongs to the church. The investor also requested a high-voltage power line and also said that it is impossible for the construction of the factory to commence due to the lack of enough coal in Uganda.
On Thursday officials from Steam Investments Limited accompanied by district leaders surveyed a 420-acre public land located in Rugarambiro village, Muko sub-county, where the plant will be established. The officials also surveyed other iron ore mineral deposits in the sub-county.
Adams Twaha Kyekune, one of Steam Investments Limited’s Managing Directors says that with the coordination with Investors from Saudi Arabia, the investment into the plant is projected at 1.5 Billion US Dollars. Kyeyune says that construction of the plant is projected to kick off next month since the documentation agreements between the investing company and the government are now at 90 percent.
According to Kyeyune, once construction is completed, the plant will produce 5,000 tonnes of steel per day. He says that the establishment of the plant in the district will also reduce the cost of transporting raw iron ore.
Asked how the plant will effectively operate despite challenges of intermittent power supply in the Kigezi region, Kyeyune says that they are set to rely on the high voltage power line that is currently under construction up to Rubanda and will be able to provide 70 Megawatts out of the needed 350 Megawatts.
He also says that they are still conducting studies to see how they can establish Geothermal energy and wind turbines that will be able to produce between 50-80 Megawatts. Kyeyune adds that they are intending to use hydrogen gas during extraction instead of Coal.
Rubanda District leaders say they are convinced that this time, the construction of the plant will be successful.
Stephen Ampeire Kasyaba, the Rubanda LCV Chairperson says that the project may employ more than 10,000 people.
A Geological survey conducted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development between 2006-2008 indicates the existence of 250 million tons of Iron ore deposits in the Kigezi region pending extraction.
Data indicate 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.