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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tanzania to become leading iron ore producer in Africa

Saturday, 18 Feb 2012

It is reported that Tanzania is set to become one of the leading producers of iron ore on the African continent.

Experts told the Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Cyril Chami that at least 50 million tonnes of iron ore is expected to be produced by the Maganga Matitu project in Ludewa District, Iringa Region within the next 100 years.

The project which is a joint venture of MMI Steel Mills Limited and the National Development Corporation is scheduled to start production of sponge iron in 2014.

It is also expected to produce between five and 10 MW of electricity to allow iron melting as well as power supply to residents of Ludewa District. Dr Chami said the project would benefit many people, especially Ludewa residents who have been involved in its development from the beginning.

According to Dr Chami, the sponge iron project was a biggest local investment ever and its implementation was so far highly impressive. He noted that "This project has made great strides since its implementation started and Tanzanians should expect a lot of benefits from it.”

The minister also urged all the investors to consider the environmental and social impact assessment before implementation of projects to avoid conflicts with residents in the respective areas. He was speaking during his visit at the MMI Steels Mills Limited and learn the challenges facing local industries.

Earlier, Mr Subhash Patel MD of MMI Steels Ltd said that about USD 12 million has so far been spent on the pre implementation stage of the project including exploration and infrastructural improvement at the area.

He listed some of the challenges as poor infrastructure, boundary conflicts as well as the poor social services, citing the example of existence of only one petrol station set up late last year. Mr Patel called for the government's support in implementing the project especially in infrastructure development and settlement of boundary conflicts.

He said that "The company has constructed 150 kilometres of roads and evaluation property is ready. Survey on the quality of the minerals by PB Company of UK is also ready.”

According to Mr Patel, 3,000 Tanzanians would get direct employment, while more than 8,000 others would be indirectly hired.



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