Uganda has opened a $200 million iron ore smelting plant, which will help the region reduce its reliance on scrap metal, billets, and coils for raw materials.
Tembo Steels Uganda Ltd is building a facility in Iganga, eastern Uganda, with a capacity to produce 1.2 million tonnes of metal per year.
“This is East Africa’s largest integrated steel mill with forward and backward steel integration,” stated Tembo Steel Chairman Sanjay Awasthi.
The introduction coincided with Uganda’s plans to follow Kenya’s lead and prohibit the sale or trade of scrap metal in order to curb willful vandalism of infrastructure including high-voltage power pylons, CCTV camera systems, and road furniture.
The existing East African Countries Common External Tariff, according to Abraham Muwanguzi, senior planner for technology and industry at the National Planning Authority-Uganda (NPA), has to be reconsidered because it favours importers of wire rods.
For the industry to be competitive, the NPA is lobbying for a better transportation network, low-cost financing, lower power tariffs, and favorable tax benefits.
When Pramukh Steel Ltd, Madhvani Steel, and Kabale Steel commission their plants, Uganda aims to boost its capacity in iron ore smelting, according to their publicized plans.
Uganda would be able to export smelted iron ore and products to Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.