News From Parliament
- Published on Saturday, 30 June 2012 00:53
- Written by NASONGELYA KILYINGA in Dodoma
- Hits: 528
THE Ngaka coalfield in Ruvuma Region has the capacity to produce 286.99 million metric tonnes of proven coal in its basin, the National Assembly was told here on Friday.
Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Stephen Masele told the House that search for coal in Ngaka basin, which involves Mbuyura, Mbalawala and Mkapa areas started way back in 1949, under the English Colonial Development Corporation (CDC).
The task, he said, involved drilling of heavy rocks. He said after independence, the Tanzania government stepped up and continued with the search for coal in the area and currently, various companies are involved in the project, including Tancoal Energy Ltd, a National Development Company (NDC) and Intra Energy from Australia share holding company.
Mr Masele said massive coal has already been discovered in the basin, in which Mbuyura coalfield has the capacity of producing 11.1 million metric tonnes, Mbalawala (251 metric tonnes), Mkapa 19.81 metric tonnes and Nyakangunda (5.08 metric tonnes. He said the combined projects have the capacity of generating 250 megawatts of electricity, when it officially commences power generation project in 2015.
The deputy minister said this when responding to a question by Gaudence Kayombo (Mbinga East---CCM), who had sought to know the capacity of coal that has so far been discovered at Ngaka coal basin. Mbinga West, MP Capt John Komba, also wanted to know why the government exported the discovered coal to Malawi, while the people of Mbinga did
not benefit from it.
“The people of Mbinga have been pregnant with expectations that they will benefit from the project…they believed that they will get reliable power services but nothing has come up into reality to-date,” observed the deep voiced MP. Mr Masele said the government would see into it that the project benefited the Mbinga residents and made sure that it met the country’s demand for coal before exporting it to neighbouring countries.
With Kiwira unstable and facing a myriad of problems, the Ngaka coal project offers an alternative source since production started in August, last year. According to Tancoal Energy has repeatedly said that they are capable of meeting local consumption, especially for cement firms that are forced to import coal.
The country started exporting coal with ash content of 16 per cent to Malawi and Kenya since February, this year. The customers of Ngaka's coal are cement, lime and gypsum producers and agriculture processors. The country's coal demand currently stands at 250,000 metric tonnes annually.