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The Prospects of Uganda’s Iron Ore Deposits in Developing the Iron and Steel Industry

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: Uganda aspires to exploitits abundant iron ore resources to supply the required raw material fordeveloping its iron and steel industry across all the phases of the valuechain. The country imports USD 369 million worth of iron and steel productsannually, 60 of which are rawmaterials for thesteel processing plants. The National Planning Authority, the governmentplanning agency, undertook a study to assess the possibility of using the ironore deposits available in the country, as a source of supply for iron and steelproduction. In the study, available geological literature was collected fromvarious sources and analysed in order to understand the mode of iron oremineralization in Uganda, particularly, that in the South West. A fieldexcursion to the deposits was conducted in order to ground truth theinformation obtained from literature research; carry out a detailedreconnaissance study so as to benchmark the likely scenarios required in thedevelopment of the iron and steel value chain; and establish the likely miningand processing requirements of the deposits. Thereconnaissance survey confirmed the existence of hematite deposits thatvisually show characteristics of high-quality iron ore (55 - 68 Fe) suitable for ironproduction. Fromsurficial investigations, the deposits are mainly comprised of thin beds ofmineralisation. The deposits occur in the form of massive hematite, which isamenable to mining and direct feed to the ore processing plants, andspecularite hematite (a metamorphic platy variety), which normally requiresmineral processing for amenability to reduction processes. From the analysis,the country has sufficient deposits of a high grade that can support a steelindustry, though more detailed quantifications and characterisations need to be prioritised bythe government.

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