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Government to approve permits for rare earth minerals extraction

Saturday November 07 2020
mineral pic

Former minister for minerals Dotto Biteko.

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. The government of Tanzania targets a big increase of revenue from the minerals sector by nearly 33 percent to reach Sh701.1 billion by the 2023/24 financial year.

This was revealed in a published online article from international media Bloomberg, where immediate former minister for minerals Dotto Biteko revealed that the state is currently in final stages to approve permits for two Australian mining companies for the extraction of rare earths and gold in Mbeya and Mwanza respectively.

“Tanzania will increase revenues from the mining sector by 33 percent by boosting production and exports, curbing smuggling and ensuring closer supervision of the industry,” Mr Biteko said.

In the 2019/20 financial year the government reported that revenue from mineral resources increased by 52.6 percent to a total of Sh528 billion from Sh346 billion collected in the same period of 2018/19 financial year.

Biteko’s tenure as the minister for minerals stopped on November 5, 2020 as the President John Maguful was sworn in for another term and expected to announce a new ministers’ cabinet.

However, in the article Mr Biteko confirmed that the two companies are Peak Resources Limited which is currently running the Ngualla rare earth project in southern Tanzania, 147 kilometres from Mbeya city and OreCorp Limited for gold development project in Nyanzaga, Mwanza.

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It was reported that if given the permit the rare earth mine would be the country’s first rare earth mine.

Rare earths are used in components for electric vehicles, smart phones, and renewable energy equipment and defence applications.

“The government is in the final stages of awarding a special mining license to Peak Resources Minerals for its Ngualla Rare Earth Project,” the former mineral minister Dotto Biteko was quoted in the article.

It was reported that the on the pipeline is the gold-mining license for OreCorp Limited regarding their gold development project Nyanzaga project, which is situated approximately 60km southwest of Mwanza and 35km northeast of the Bulyanhulu gold mine.

Last month the government received its first cash dividend of $40 million from a 16 percent stake in a joint venture with Barrick.

Tanzania plans to use the Barrick partnership as a model when negotiating joint-ownership deals with all major mining companies, including with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., in line with mining laws passed in 2017, said Biteko.

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