By ABDUEL ELINAZA, 25th July 2011 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 3385
Tanzania is reported to have the best gypsum deposits in the world in terms of purity percentage, situated in Pindilo and Mbane, Kilwa in Lindi region, geologists say.
The geological evidence shows that the gypsum has about 90 per cent purity with enough stock to last for several decades, but roads and railway infrastructure poises a challenge to exploit the minerals.
The Geological Survey of Tanzania Principal Geologist, Mr Momburi Bazil told the Business
Standard in Dar es Salaam on Monday that the Pindilo sites faces infrastructure challenges although it is located near Mtwara Port and the main highway to Dar es Salaam.
“This is very good opportunity to local investors to mine the industrial mineral and export it. In fact 90 per cent of total output is exported, mainly to Kenya,” Mr Bazil said.
He was speaking at the on going Ministry of Energy and Minerals and its stakeholders fair to
mark 50 years of independence at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania Portland Cement Company (Twiga) is the first to tap the gypsum from Kilwa which is transported to the factory in Dar es Salaam using trucks.
The geologist said the idea now is to produce gypsum powder and export it as its demand
is increasing overnight. He said apart from being used for producing cement, gypsum is also used extensively as a soil conditioner in agriculture. “Kenya is using gypsum to condition large part of Rift Valley soil, and mostly comes from Msagali in Dodoma,” Mr Bazil said.
The Msagali gypsum has 75 per cent purity. The Dodoma gypsum mine is owned by the retired General Robert Mboma and is the only large scale mining activity. Gypsum, one of the most widely used minerals in the world, literally surrounds us every day.
Mostly gypsum is used to make wallboard for homes, partition boards for offices which have become a common norm for all modern offices and commercial buildings.
It is estimated that a typical new home contains more than seven metric tons of gypsum
alone. Moreover, gypsum is used worldwide in concrete for highways, bridges, and buildings.
Apart from Kilwa and Msagali, there is also gypsum in Makanya but has high content of sandy and earthy gypsite and is controlled by small artisans.
Another excellent quality of gypsum is located at Itigi, which is the second from Pindilo, with purity rate of over 75 per cent. The Itigi deposits face no infrastructure problem as it is close to the central railway line. Other deposits are at the border of Singida and Dodoma; and Mkomazi in Tanga.
Gypsum is one of the more common minerals in sedimentary environments. It occurs in massive beds, as free crystals in clay beds and crystallized in limestone cavities and it is easier to unearth.
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