CONSTRUCTION of mineral concentrate smelter is scheduled to start soon to discourage export of raw minerals, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said here yesterday.
He told the National Assembly that there are investors who have expressed interest in construction of the smelters in the country, affirming that the government is determined to either invite them or construct the facility on its own.
“Within a short time, we will start construction of mineral concentrate smelters or invite investors,” he said during the instant questions to the premier session, as he answered a question from Emmanuel Mwakasaka (Tabora Urban- CCM) who sought to know whether a recent ban on the export of mineral concentrates will not damage Tanzania’s relationship with other countries and international companies.
The government banned the export of mineral concentrates and ores for metallic minerals like gold, copper, nickel and silver last March, with a view to promote value addition in the country in line with the Mineral Policy of 2009 and Mining Act of 2010.
President John Magufuli halted the exports of Acacia Mining owned concentrates at the Dar es Salaam port, citing irregularities in the process and formed a committee to investigate the value of the resources.
The eight-person team came up with an appalling report, revealing that the value of the minerals within the concentrates in containers was over 10 times the declared amount.
Acacia Mining immediately disapproved the audit, describing it as inaccurate. The Premier said investors need not worry as the government was committed to protect their rights as it deals with the dispute with Acacia Mining over its mineral concentrates.
He told the parliament that the government wanted to ascertain the value of the exported mineral concentrates following concerns that the value had been under declared. “I am asking investors not to worry.
The government’s intention is to ascertain the value of the concentrates,” he said. The Premier said the latest development in the mining sector was part of government’s efforts to ensure that the nation gets its fair share of the natural resources. Tanzania is Africa’s fourth largest gold producer.