FORMATION of a joint venture firm, Tembo Nickel Corporation as a result of union between the government and UK-based LZ Nickel Limited, is expected to yield huge economic benefits and bring major transformation in the country’s mining sector.
The government and the UK-based LZ Nickel Limited signed a framework agreement yesterday in Kagera Region to jointly develop the Kabanga nickel project.
Such benefits will be realised due to class one nickel found at the Kabanga mining through taxes, dividends, loyalties, creation of jobs, growth of business and technological advancement.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Prof Palamagamba Kabudi said the partnership has led to the establishment of LZ Nickel Refining Company in Kahama, a multipurpose mineral smelting and LZ Nickel Mining Limited in Ngara.
He noted that large deposits of nickel at Kabanga have made Tanzania a strategic mineral country worldwide, specifically in the production of electrical vehicle batteries.
The minister asserted that countries like the United States, Japan, Europe and UK have listed nickel as among critical minerals with a high demand within the next 10 years to the economic development.
Prof Kabudi said besides getting a 16 per cent stake of non-dilutable free held interest, the country will benefit from an equitable sharing of all economic benefits in accordance to the laws of the land.
“Earlier estimates show that production is going to bring on average US dollar 664 million equivalent to 1.5tri/- annually. “Besides, both parties have agreed to carry out a new feasibility study, to get a clear and reliable picture which is expected to start right away,” said Prof Kabudi.
Among the benefits include creating an environment for the establishment of industries for the production of final products obtained from minerals as well as welcoming investors focusing in the production of electrical vehicle batteries.
According to the minister, the achievement is a demonstration that President John Magufuli’s vision and directive made in his Bunge Inauguration Speech encouraging construction of industries, smelting, refining and manufacturing of mineral products to be done within the country is becoming a reality.
He pointed out that the partnership will also strengthen the government’s reserve, taking into account all the money is going to be stored in the country’s banks, widening the mining sector and making possible for the construction of more mineral smelters.
He, however, noted that the offices of the joint venture company will be in Tanzania promoting close monitoring of the activities and transparency.
With regard to the outstanding achievement the Minister extended recognition to President Magufuli for pioneering all the mining reforms, which continue to bear fruit.
Giving a brief of the mine, the Minister said discovery of the minerals was a result of a research conducted by the government through a financing of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) from the year 1976 to 1979.
Inline to nickel, the area is home to other minerals like cobalt, copper, gold and platinum among others. Besides the minerals being found at Kabanga, nickel is also found in Kahama District, Katavi, Kigoma, Lindi and Dodoma.