‘Tanzania’s Mkuju Uranium project on track’

Illegal mining results in lead poisoning08 October 2013, Dar es Salaam – Tanzania’s Uranium Mkuju River Project is on track and currently preparing for construction to start, the Tanzania 2013 Indaba heard at the weekend.

Presenting his paper on ‘Tanzania Mining Energy Transition to Uranium Mining,’ Mantra Tanzania’s Managing Director, Asa Mwaipopo said, they were in final discussions with the government on Mining Development Agreement.

He said they had received UNESCO’s approval to a minor boundary change of the World Heritage area – granted in July 2012, Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate – granted in October 2012 and Special Mining Licence – issued in April 2013.

Consent to Operate in a Game Reserve was still pending until the Mining Development Agreement is reached, he said. He said the project is on track and still feasible and would bring benefits to the country, but that it would be achievable through a partnership approach to negotiations.

He told the Indaba, a conference that attracted over 500 people from around the world, that it would bring in foreign direct investment in excess of $1 billion over the life of the mine, Project royalties – $195 million over the life of the mine, project corporate taxes – $363 million over the life of the mine and substantial new employment – 1,600 jobs created during construction and over 700 permanent jobs.

He said it had already significantly enhanced environmental protection and wildlife conservation benefits for the Selous through Protection cost and CSR (Anti-poaching Initiative).

The theme for this year’s indaba, which ended in Dar es Salaam on Friday, was “Increasing local content and indigenous participation in the mining, energy/oil & gas and infrastructure sectors and delivering the critical insights and business networks for you to navigate a fast changing mining and energy investment landscape.”

He said Mining Development Agreement and the Consent to operate in a game reserve are the key outstanding government permits, adding that full permitting will be followed by a detailed design.

He said construction to commence with early works (access road, construction camp) by the next dry season – subject to the permits.He said it would need two years of construction work before commencing production.

Mantra has two project areas in Tanzania, Mkuju River Project in Southern Tanzania and Bahi North Project in Central Tanzania.

“It will take a two-year period for completing construction work before we start to produce uranium oxide. Tanzania will become number 3 in Africa in uranium production after Niger and Namibia,” Mwaipopo said.

Commenting from the perspective of a legal expert on the sectors, Kibuuka Law Chambers’ Managing Partner & Advocate, Paul Kibuuka, said that “the event has provided a platform for business executives, entrepreneurs, professionals and potential investors to get rare insights into the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks that govern these sectors and the available investment opportunities.”

He noted that “as a newly resource-enriched country, Tanzania needs international investors to tap its mining, energy, oil and gas resources to help transform its economy and improve the lives of its people.”

The uranium update comes days after the government announced that 175.8 million tonnes of uranium reserves confirmed so far at Mkuju River, whose extraction will enable the Treasury to collect 363 million US dollars in corporate taxes and 50 million dollars in Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

Other topics discussed at the Indaba included ‘The legislative & regulatory framework in the mining and energy sector, contracting with state entities – stabilisation clauses/bilateral investment treaties.

– Tanzania Daily News

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