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Uganda looking for mining investors as price of Copper hits record high

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The Ministry of Finance and Mining Uganda said on Tuesday that it was inviting investors who are interested in mining within and outside the county to revive a vast copper mine in the country’s west that also holds significant cobalt deposits.

The ministry made the disclosure in a joint statement, noting that the government was open to partnership with the private sector to revive mining.

“We have invited companies to express their interest in partnering with the government through a mineral production sharing agreement,”

“The redevelopment of Kilembe Mines will have a catalytic effect of facilitating industrialization, offer significant employment opportunities and increase revenue.”

The Kilembe Mines is Uganda’s largest copper mine, with estimated deposits of copper in excess of 4,000,000 tonnes and an undetermined amount of cobalt ore. In addition, there are approximately 2,800 acres (1,100 ha), of unexplored acreage at the site.

Since the beginning of 2022, the price of Copper has hit a record height and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is eager to expand the exploration of the country’s mineral wealth – which includes gold, base metals, uranium, rare piles of earth, iron, titanium, vermiculite, and diamonds – to help boost growth.

The mine began operations in 1950 and there are an estimated four million tonnes of copper ore beneath the mountains of Kilembe, located about 380 kilometers southwest of Kampala. The firm however collapsed in 1982 as the Ugandans who were put in charge of the new parastatal, Kilembe Mines Ltd, did not have the required expertise to run it.

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AfDB to sponsor Rwanda’s African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will be sponsoring Rwanda’s venture to host the new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.

The venture is expected boost the continent’s access to technology in manufacturing medicines and vaccines.

AfDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said the project includes “revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure.

“Even with the decision of the Trips waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying -and will most likely continue to die – from lack of vaccines and effective protection,” Dr Adesina said.

Meanwhile the venture has drawn commendation from players. The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, remarked that the project “provides part of the infrastructure needed to assure an emergent pharmaceutical industry in Africa.”

Africa is short of pharmaceutical companies that fits its population size. The continent is currently home to about 375 pharmaceutical firms, which produce less than 25 percent of the needed products annually, forcing the countries to import vastly to meet demand.

This dependence on imports leaves citizens vulnerable to shortages of medication — a problem that triggered a continent-wide crisis during the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small pharmacies and large medical stores in Rwanda ran out of stock. In South Africa, it became nearly impossible to fill prescriptions for psychiatric drugs and oral contraceptives. In Kenya, oncologists complained about challenges treating their cancer patients. And in Nigeria, stocks of treatments to manage chronic illnesses, including HIV medicines, dipped critically low.

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Farmers lament as wild fire, heat waves cut grain harvest in Tunisia

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Farmers union in Tunisia has forecasted that output will fall well short of government hopes following heat waves and fires that are badly damaging the country’s grain harvest.

Farmers union official Mohamed Rejaibia, pointing to fires that began raging over much of the country last month, said that was no longer possible.

“The grain harvest will not be more than 1.4 million tonnes,” said Rejaibia, a member of the union’s executive office. “Some of it will be lost to fires and some perhaps during collection.”

The North African country has struggled with food importation costs driven higher by the war in Ukraine. That is largely because Ukraine and Russia account for a great amount of the global supply for grains, particularly wheat.

Earlier this month, agriculture minister, Mhamoud Elyess Hamza forecasted the 2022 grain harvest would reach 1.8 million tonnes, that is 10% up from last year’s harvest.

Wild fire has had a devastating effect in Tunisia. According to a statement released by the Tunisian Federation of Insurance Companies (FTUSA), the insurance industry in the country paid fire insurance claims totalling TND25m ($8m) in 2015 and the quantum jumped over the years to TND107m in 2020. That represented an average increase over 30% a year.

Another farmer, Abderraouf Arfaoui, in Krib, revealed that most of his colleagues had to harvest their grains earlier than usual.

“Usually we begin the harvest season in July, but this year we started on June 18… we are afraid of fires. We must watch our land day and night.

“We must harvest without waiting, even if that reduces the quantity and quality of the wheat, and when we finish the harvest we must watch our haystacks, too.”

 According to Thinkhazard, wildfire hazard is classified as high with more than a 50% chance of encountering weather that could support a significant wildfire that is likely to result in both life and property loss in any given year.

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