Journey Around Tanzania

Major Districts in Uganda

2. Tin Mining near Kyerwa

Kyerwa is a town located close to the Tanzania/Rwanda border; it is situated about 120 kilometres west of Bukoba. There are many small individually owned tin mines nearby, most that use inefficient and traditional methods to produce very little tin, but there is one substantial mine that produces about one third of Tanzania’s output. Kyerwa Mine was opened in 1925, just one year after tin ore had been discovered. The mine is located along a river known as Grey Tin Creek and the tin is found in river deposits  of cassiterite. Originally the tin settled in reefs of quartz, which is found in the crystalline rocks of the plateau. In the case of the Kyerwa Mines the reefs are found in the Kaborishobe Hill area, which is drained by the Grey Tin Creek. This river erodes away the crystalline rocks and the quartz containing tin and deposits them downstream. It’s these downstream deposits that are mined. Since the mining began the mine has slowly expanded and has been owned, at various times, by several different companies. During the period 1938-1948 an average of over 100 tonnes of concentrated cassiterite (tin ore) was produced each year. In 1955 the Malayan company, which then owned the mine, decided upon a rapid expansion of mining. To do this they built a new treatment plant which was capable of handling 1,000 tonnes of ore each day. To provide power for this an electricity power line was built from the hydro-electric station 56 kilometres away at Kikagat in Uganda. Unfortunately, the expansion of mining was not completely successful and the mine acquired new owners in 1969. Following this exit, mining was carried out using open caste methods, that is, the tin ore is dug out straight from the surface without the need to dig shafts and tunnels. Since mining is done at the surface it means that heavy moving machinery, such as excavators, can be used. Once the ore has been mined it is taken to the treatment plant where the rock is crushed twice, firstly by a cone crusher. Good grade tin ore contains 76% tin and 24% waste.

3. Coffee Growing in Bukoba District

This area is very important for growing of Robusta coffee, which forms almost two-thirds of the agricultural produce ingathered in the region. Most farms are plantations, therefore, grow coffee and the Tanzania Government has over the years encourages farmers to grow more of other crops, like tea and sugarcane, in order to diversity production. Why is the area so suitable for coffee? There are many reasons, of course, but they are mostly depend upon the climate and the physical features of the area. Coffee requires high temperatures and well distributed rainfall. It also requires high humidity and because Bukoba is near Lake Victoria it is always present. Finally, the coffee needs good, well drained soils and these are found in the area, especially on the sloping hillsides. Coffee is not usually grown in the valley bottoms because of poor drainage and some occasional swamps. It takes about four to five years after being planted in the nursery, and three years after transplanting, for the first coffee beans to be harvested from a bush. It is not until the bush is eight years old, however, that it really produces heavy crops. Once it is producing well, a good bush will give a large crop for fifteen or twenty years after which it will be dug up and replaced with a young bush. The coffee beans, which take eight months to mature, are wholly gathered by hand and it is essential that there should be many workers available for harvesting. The beans are then sun dried and the pulp and skin is removed in local pulperies. Bags of coffee are then transported, either by the co-operatives or the plantations, to the treating factories. In the factories, the coffee beans are tuned into soluble coffee. The beans are first roasted and then ground into a fine powder. To remove insoluble part of the coffee the powder is mixed in a water solution; the insoluble parts are not dissolved and therefore can be removed. The soluble coffee is dissolved in the water and this water is evaporated from the coffee solution so the dry soluble coffee can be obtained.

Amir Hamza Processing and Exporting Offices in Bukoba Tanzania
Amir Hamza Processing and Exporting Offices in Bukoba Tanzania