RECENTLY, President John Magufuli witnessed the signing ceremony of a mining agreement with the United Kingdom-based investor, LZ Nickel Limited for mining nickel in the country.
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.
Nickel is a naturally-occurring metallic element with a silvery-white, shiny appearance. It is the fifth-most common element on earth and occurs extensively in the earth’s crust and core.
Nickel, along with iron, is also a common element in meteorites and can even be found in small quantities in plants, animals and seawater.
While the concentration of nickel in the earth’s crust is 80 parts per million, the earth’s core consists mainly of a nickel-iron alloy.
Tanzania, Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, has sought in recent years higher revenues from its vast mineral resources by overhauling the fiscal and regulatory regime of its mining sector.
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.
During the signing ceremony, President Magufuli said timely execution of the project 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 a smelter plant in Kahama District, Shinyanga Region, being implementation of the government’s drive on protecting natural resources.
The project is a win-win benefit between the government of Tanzania and the investor, and the two parties will get equal shares from the profit to be made.
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.
Nickel is a key electric car battery material and Kabanga - in Tanzania’s northwest - is the world’s largest development-ready, high-grade nickel sulfide deposit, according to Kabanga Nickel. It is estimated to contain more than 1.52 million tonnes of nickel.
This project will develop the country’s vision of adding value to all minerals and to expand refineries beyond Kabanga that will make Tanzania a regional and central hub for East and central Africa that will process minerals in Africa.
Through its ability to withstand high heat, nickel minimizes corrosion, allowing the metal to be used for several decades without replacement.
Thus, nickel is used in harsh environments such as jet engines, offshore installations and power generation facilities