Government: Probe Mwananchi Gold Company

Energy and Minerals Deputy Minister, Stephen Masele.The government has directed Tanzania Mineral Audit Agency (TMAA) to conduct detailed research on the factors behind the downfall of Dar es Salaam-based gold refinery - Mwananchi Gold Company Limited (MGCL).

The troubled company has been liquidated over financial problems, ending a 12-year dispute over its ownership. MGCL ceased operations in 2007 due to poor performance and efforts to revamp it have since failed.

Energy and Minerals Deputy Minister, Stephen Masele (pictured), speaking to TMAA Workers’ Council in Dar es Salaam last week, said the envisaged research will offer necessary inputs for the government to take appropriate measures to re-establish the gold facility.

The deputy minister said geological surveys in the East and Central Africa show the huge mining deposits being discovered make the establishment of the refinery facility inevitable.

“We want to have the new refinery facility that could test up to 900 tones, daily and the government is ready to invest in that plant,” he noted.

With the refinery, he said massive revenues will be generated especially from the small scale miners who will be using it to test golden sand that currently goes unnoticed.

“The refinery facility is urgently needed because it will cut down mineral smuggling, the malpractice that plunges the nation into massive losses annually,” he added. Presently, 50,000 tones of various minerals are extracted annually but with the refinery, the volume will definitely go up to over 100,000 tones.

The MGCL shareholders include BoT (36 per cent), National Development Company (15 per cent), Chimera Company Ltd (20 per cent) and Mwananchi Trust (29 per cent).

The refinery at Vingunguti area entered into business in December 2005 as the country’s first gold refinery and planned to purchase gold from small scale and artisanal miners as well as add value to the country’s gold exports.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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