|Tinka Alex Kwatampora, a geologist and consultant for Tibet Hima Industry Company in the Middle, showing the gealogical map of Kilembe copper mines to some Chinese (File photo)|
Rich in copper and cobalt, Kilembe Mines in southwestern Uganda which closed in 1980s are currently in the news after the Chinese Investors started reviving them. In this story funded by the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project, Uganda’s award-winning journalist Fredrick Mugira travelled to the mines and looked at the contribution of this Chinese investment in Uganda’s development.
The knocked-knee rider of the Boda Boda motor cycle whistled as he rode. His whistling was atypical and melodious reminiscence of an exultant man. It enthralled me but I had to interrupt with a query. I was sure he heard my question because he whistled at a low tone and I sat close to him on his commercial motorcycle’s carrier as we headed to Kilembe copper mines at a fairly medium speed.
He rode steadily as he skimmed at me from his left hand shoulder and answered, “of course we have already started benefiting from the resumption of Kilembe copper mines. We transport different people from Kasese town to the mines. And when the mines start operating we shall get more passengers. We are happy we shall get more money.”
As we talked, I realized, this large-eyed and friendly rider is among thousands of people that are poised to benefit from the resumption of the now little known but once famous Kilembe Copper Mines by the Chinese company - Tibet Hima Industry Company Limited.
Production of copper and cobalt ore at the mines stopped in 1982. The m