Museveni launches first tin processing company in Uganda

President Museveni (C) inspects some of the processed Tin in Mbarara on April 12, 2024. PHOTO/FELIX AINEBYOONA

President Museveni has asked investors to add value to minerals before exporting them. He made the remarks on Friday while launching the first tin refinery plant in Uganda.

The Wood Cross Tin Smelting Company Limited is located in Kirehe Cell, Ruti Ward, Mbarara City. Mr Museveni described as “betrayal” actions of previous leaders who sanctioned exportation of minerals in raw form. 

“Rocks of Kikagatte in Isingiro and Mwirashande in Ntungamo District are what they have been exporting,” the President said, adding, “And we would have a commissioner of minerals, you can imagine a commissioner of ignorance. A commissioner of stupidity! Commissioner! Commissioner of what? Why don’t you see this?” 

Mr Museveni said the country loses a lot of money by not adding value to its natural resources. He castigated “the uninformed and traitors” who have squandered African wealth. 

“When NRM came we told you in the beginning that we cannot be part of that group. We said we are going to build an economy which is integrated vertically and horizontally,” he said.

Mr Museveni emphasised that he has won many battles and is now focused on value addition. 
“When it came to minerals, we told them that if you do not want to add value here, we shall not allow you to export. I banned all exports of unprocessed minerals,” he said. 

He added: “Let the minerals stay in the ground […] if the present leaders are stupid they can’t see how to do it, let them stay there when the more intelligent people come.”

The President added that Wood Cross be the exclusive exporter of tin in Uganda until another company receives government approval and is established.

Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, the Energy and Mineral Development minister, said the country was witnessing the first tin refinery company. She disclosed that Wood Cross has already determined the level of purity at 99.85 and above.

“Wood Cross determines the level of purity because they have the smelters and they were also allowed to export samples and when they got that to me with the determined level of purity of between 99.85 and 99.95 so that is what every tin smelter will follow,” Minister Nankabirwa said, adding that the statutory instrument is already in place for the Wood Cross to export tin.

The Wood Cross Tin Smelting Company Limited will reportedly export 10 tonnes of processed tin.