German-based Deutsche Rohstoff and Bergbau Mining Company has started smelting copper in Uganda at a revived plant in Jinja, a company official told Dow Jones, and treatment of tin oxide ores is expected to start before the end of this month. Two furnaces at the plant will treat stockpiled copper ores, plus feed from the local Kilembe copper mine and tin concentrates from neighbouring DR Congo.

The company has so far employed 70 workers and expects to employ more people as operations reach full-scale in the next few months. Jinja is located around 80 kilometres east of the capital Kampala. When the smelter closed in the 1980s, a large stock of copper ore was abandoned at the site, which company workers are currently recovering. The company expects to get more supplies from eastern Congo, where mining activities have been stepped up and there are limited mineral treatment facilities.

Copper and tin metal from the smelter will be exported through the Kenyan port of Mombasa to European, US and Asian markets, according to the company.