Uganda gets set for marble export

Tuesday November 5 2013

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Uganda is on the verge of becoming one of the leading producers of marble - an industrial mineral used in the production of tiles. The deal according to information is being spearheaded by Dao Africa Limited, the company that was licensed last year to explore the availability of marble and later process it.

Mr Arnold Ananura, the Dao Africa head of logistics told Prosper that the company had already shipped 10 containers of dimension stone samples to Italy for trials to asses commercial viability. According to the department of geology at the ministry of Energy and Minerals, Uganda has vast deposits of marble especially in the Karamoja sub region and Mubende.

However, the department cannot at the moment state how much marble Uganda has. Mr Edward Isabirye the Ministry of Energy and Minerals senior geologist, said: “Uganda has huge marble deposits and it is believed to be of high quality.”

Since 2012, Dao Africa has invested more than Shs47 billion [$8.4 million] in terms of equipment and consultancy. The company has also set up quarries in Moroto District.

“We have hired experts from Egypt with proficiency in marble exploration. The team will prepare Uganda for marble extraction,” Ananura said. The company currently manages deposits worth 76 million tonnes with an environment impact assessment already confirmed.

Challenges
However, the project has been bedeviled with a number of challenges including poor infrastructure and lack of local expertise.

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Moroto District has one of Uganda’s worst infrastructure networks ranging from inaccessible roads and a large peasant population.

Poor infrastructure, according to Ananura, has been a key challenge that has made it difficult for the transportation of machinery thus increasing the cost of doing business.

Additionally, Moroto is not connected to the national power grid thus the company has had to improvise using generators to power their activities.

The generated power is only available for domestic use and cannot sufficiently be used to run heavy industrial works. The company is currently run on two-generators that consume about 20,800 litres per month.

Market
Uganda is looking at exporting marble to Egypt, where it is on high demand but focus has been put on other key markets including China, Egypt, Italy, Turkey, Jordan, and Australia.

dnakaweesi@ug.nationmedia.com

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