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Nickel project brings fresh hopes

THE much-awaited Kabanga Nickel Project in Ngara District, Kagera Region, will soon start its operations, bringing fresh hopes to many Tanzanians in terms of employment creation and national economic growth.

Kabanga Nickel, being an active mine exploration project, is about to start its operation after the government yesterday signed a contract with the United Kingdom-based investor, LZ Nickel Limited.

Witnessing the signing ceremony, President John Magufuli said timely execution of the proj ect will guarantee provision of employment in the surrounding areas and that the country will definitely benefit from the project.

The contract will also see the construction of the smelter plant in Kahama District, Shinyanga Region, being implementation of the government’s drive on protecting natural resources.

“During the campaigns for October 2020 General Election, we pledged to create some eight million employment opportunities, and in fact, the Kabanga Nickel project and construction for the smelter plant will play a great role on the drive,” said President Magufuli.

He said since execution of the project has been delayed for many days, it is time now for the country to start enjoying the fruits of the available resources.

The Head of State praised the negotiation team led by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, for a good job done that set a platform for equitable sharing of all economic benefits.

“It is the same team that negotiated on the mineral concentrates that led to the formation of the Twiga Company, which is the joint venture between the government and Barrick Gold Corporation,” noted Dr Magufuli.

The team also negotiated on the construction of a crude oil pipeline from Hoima (Uganda) to Tanga in Tanzania.

He assured that the signed contract carries contents that serve the greater interest of the country in protecting natural resources, since the county has specific laws on the matter.

“The project is a win-win benefit between the government of Tanzania and the investor, and the two parties will get equal share from the profit to be made. I can assure that the country is going in the right direction,” added President Magufuli.

Going forward, Dr Magufuli assured investors that Tanzania is politically stable country and invited them to exploit the abundant resources available in the country.

“Tanzania is a right place for investors. It is a resource-rich country with water, land and abundant minerals -- including graphite, helium, cobalt, petroleum, gold, uranium and nickel just to mention a few,” he said.

He directed Minister for Minerals Dotto Biteko to cooperate with the negotiation team to ensure that the implementation of the Kabanga Nickel project starts as soon as possible, adding that it is an exciting investment opportunity.

Equally, he commended LZ Nickel Limited for the bold decision to implement the project that will provide employment opportunities to hundreds of Tanzanians.

LZ Nickel Limited is a UK mining company with investment capital in Tanzania amounting USD 5.4 billion offering employment to 227,000 Tanzanians, while China had investments amounting USD 7.5 billion offering employment to 315,000 Tanzanians.

Dr Magufuli disclosed that the mining sector had made significant progress with production increasing from USD 168 billion during 2015 – USD 528 billion during 2020.

He urged residents in Ngara and Kahama districts to exploit the opportunity to the maximum to improve their socioeconomic wellbeing.

LZ Nickel Limited Vice- President Mr Anthony von Chistierson explained that this was a historic event, adding that Kabanga Nickel was the largest mining deposit in the world assuring the president that the profit would be shared equally at 50-50 per cent.

As of July 16, 2007, the exploration programme had placed 9.7 million tonnes at 2.37 per cent nickel into the indicated resource category, with an additional 30.3 million tonnes at 2.8 per cent nickel in the estimated inferred resource category.

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Author: DEOGRATIUS KAMAGI and MEDDY MULISA

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