Kampala (Alshahid) – Uganda opened the first ever gold refinery at a cost of $1.5 million (about Shs3 billion) on Tuesday set up by Victoria Gold Star Ltd targeting to process gold from eastern Congo and other parts of the region.
Presiding over the function Minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris said Uganda’s gold deposits in the Karamoja region, where he hails from, will however remain untapped until the right quality of investors are found.
“We have enough gold here but we need serious investors who will exploit it and have it refined,” Mr Lokeris said at the commissioning of the refinery in Kampala’s Industrial Area.
In an indirectly response to capacity fears the Assistant Chemist, Mr Martin Mpanga, said; “The initial investment license was for a small plant but we have applied for another licence and we want to invest more capital to expand the refinery.”
Mr Yuri Bogorodistkiy, the Managing Director of the refinery company said the plant will produce “100 per cent refined gold for export to international markets,” and that the two processing units at the plant can refine at least 60 kilogrammes of gold per day.
Mr Lokeris warned against smuggling of the minerals since Uganda has a mineral processing protocol with the Congolese government.
This comes at a time when groups involved in the erratic conflicts in Congo have repeatedly claimed that Uganda and Rwanda governments are involved in illegal gold exploitation in the Great Lakes region.