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.
The mine is located in Kilembe, a suburb of the town of Kasese, in the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains in the Western Region of Uganda, The mine is approximately 380 kilometres (236 mi), by road from Kampala.
In July 1950, two Canadian mining companies, Frosbisher Limited and Ventures Limited, formed a joint venture, named Kilembe Mines Limited (KML), whose objective was to mine copper from under the Rwenzori Mountains near Kasese. KML built and operated a copper smelter in Jinja and maintained offices in Kampala. Other assets include a housing estate for staff in Kasese and the 5MW Mubuku I Power Station in the Rwenzori Mountains.
In 1962, KML was acquired by Falconbridge of Africa, who sold it to the Government of Uganda in 1975. Copper extraction ceased in 1982 due to dilapidated equipment, high inflation and insecurity.
In 2013, after nearly 30 years of dormancy and after several failed attempts to privatize the mine, a consortium led by Tibet-Hima Mining Company Limited, won the competitive bid to manage, rehabilitate and operate Kilembe Mines Limited for 25 years from 2013 until 2038.