Dar seeks shares in uranium, nickel mines

The government is holding talks with foreign investors planning uranium and nickel production in the country to ensure it receives stakes as per the 2010 mining law requiring it to take shares in strategic mines.

President Jakaya Kikwete said on Tuesday that the government had begun engaging foreign mining companies that have invested in uranium and nickel resources over the matter to ensure Tanzanians benefit more from natural resources.

"We are proceeding with talks with companies that plan to build uranium and nickel mines," Jakaya Kikwete said in a meeting with religious leaders.

He did not say what level of shareholding the government was looking to take in mines.

Local business leaders, politicians and activists are pressing the government to ensure Tanzanians benefit more from natural resources.

President Kikwete also said the government planned to pass legislation this year to create a sovereign wealth fund to manage future revenues from gas production.

Toronto-listed Uranium One, operator of the Mkuju River project owned by the Canadian uranium producer's majority shareholder, Russia's JSC Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), plans to build a uranium mine in southern Tanzania with an updated resource of 119.4 million pounds of uranium.

The AIM-listed African Eagle Resources Plc is developing a nickel mine in northern Tanzania with the capacity to produce around 27,000 tonnes per annum of nickel.

Barrick Gold Corp and Glencore Xstrata are also jointly developing a nickel project in Tanzania with a resource of 37.2 million tonnes grading 2.63 per cent nickel.

Neighbouring Kenya, which is testing the commercial viability of its deposits, also plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund, through a revised petroleum law expected by June.

Tanzania now has 46.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, up from 42.7 tcf previously, and expects that exploration off its southern coast will result in more finds, Kikwete said.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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