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January 30, 2010

Vermiculite production in Uganda to increase farmer access to fertilizer

by Dorothy Nakaweesi 

Costly fertilisers are to become a thing of the past when the production of vermiculite in Uganda begins in April. Vermiculite is a mineral used in the production of organic fertilizers.

Gulf Resources –Sydney, through their local companies, Gulf Resources (Uganda) Ltd and East African Vermiculite (EAV), are in the final stages of rebuilding and validating the resource to prepare for massive production in early April.

The Executive Chairman-Gulf Resources, Mr Scot Reid, said they are anticipating production to be 10,000 tonnes for the first year of steady operations building up to 16,000 tonnes per year for export and local use.

Mr Reid said the EAV project contains over 54, 9-million tonnes of vermiculite meaning that in terms of size and quality, the resource is one of the world’s largest deposits of coarse grained vermiculite - well suited to meet the specifications for both local and world markets. Gulf has already signed an off-take agreement for 5,000 tonnes of production and currently negotiating with a number of other potential customers.
Only a few countries in the world have commercial vermiculite mines including: Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, USA, Zimbabwe and Uganda (largest resource) and South Africa (largest producers).

Uganda Investment Authority Executive Director Dr Maggie Kigozi welcomed this development. “Once this project takes off, the country will earn revenue from the exports, boost agriculture and hundreds of Ugandans will be employed,” Kigozi said.
The project is set to boost the country’s economy an improve farmer’s livelihood. “Whilst we expect to export a majority of the product to Europe and the USA, a strong local demand is expected in the agricultural and horticultural sectors in East Africa,” Mr Reid said.

Daily Monitor

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