Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tanzania: Mineral Processing Plant to Be Constructed in Dar es Salaam

18th September 2017

By Cledo Michael

Dar es Salaam — The first plants to process Tantalum and Niobium, worth $40 million is set to be constructed and start production in Tanzania from September next year.

The plants are the first of their kind to be put up in in Africa and will be operating at African Minerals and Geoscience Centre (AMGC). Their construction has been possible after agreements was reached with AB Minerals Corporation, to improve capacity of the center.

The Director of AB Minerals Corporation, Mr Frank Balestra, said the plants uses high technology systems and special for value addition of Coltan Concentrate (Tantalum and Niobium).

He added that construction work has already begun to enable the plants start operations next year.

“We want to make it easier and accessible for miners to sell their minerals directly to smelters firm and push more money down because the system is cost effective. This will help to reduce costs incurred for agencies, transport and export of finished goods at high value that allow for the significant tax benefit for the nation,” he added.

Mr Balestra said the plants will help to process 3,000 tonnes of Coltan concentrate annually and will cut exportation of raw minerals which was not benefiting the Country substantially.

The project will add capacity to the African Minerals and Geoscience Centre (AMGC) and enable it to meet its objectives of effective utilisation of minerals by adding value to match with market needs.

Mr Balestra said this is the perfect time to invest in minerals to support effort of existing government to ensure that natural resources are used for the benefit of its citizen.

Tantalum and Niobium, are used to make telephone gadgets, computers, airplane engines and electrical equipment.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201709190232.html

Tanzania: Govt to Repossess Petra Diamond’s Mine

9th September 2017

By Beatrice Materu

Tanzania is likely to repossess a diamond mine currently being run by a London Stock Exchange-listed mining company, Petra Diamond Ltd, after President John Magufuli directed a review of Williamson Diamond mine’s contract, which operates Petra’s Mwadui diamond mines.

A parliamentary probe into the diamond trade alleged massive fraud and recommended, among other things, repossession of the mine, a proposal that got an immediate nod from the president.

National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai had in June formed two House teams to review how Tanzania benefits from the diamond and tanzanite mineral trade.

The teams scrutinised ownership, excavation and regulations around these operations and presented their findings to the government on September 6 in Dodoma, but were not tabled before parliament.

President Magufuli, after receiving the reports, ordered an overhaul of the country’s mining laws in order to seal any existing loopholes.

“All experts on mining tanzanite and diamond should start dealing with all this issues relating to contracts and the country’s mining laws,” he said.

Corporate tax

As of 2015, Tanzania was the 10th largest diamond producer in Africa, after Botswana with 17.3m carats, Angola accounts for 7.1m carats, South Africa 6m carats, Democratic Republic of Congo 3.15m carats, Namibia 1.92m carats, Sierra Leone 0.5m carats, Zimbabwe 0.5m carats, Lesotho 0.35m carats, and Ghana 0.24m carats.

The MPs, besides accusing Petra of not paying corporate tax since it started operations in Tanzania in the 1990s, cited irregularities around the contracts, licences and declarations on both the quantity of the minerals and assets purchased.

“From 2007, Williamson Diamonds has never paid corporate tax. The diamond producer declared losses every year but still holds a licence that elapses in 2030, which doesn’t make sense…why keep operating if they are not making profit?” posed Mussa Azzan Zungu, who chaired probe team.

The state owns 25 per cent of the business with Petra Diamond Ltd owning the rest.

“The government will work on all the team’s recommendations. Law, security and enforcement agencies should investigate these allegations quickly. I would love to see Tanzanians benefit from their natural resources, especially minerals,” President Magufuli said.

Tanzanite

Tanzania is the only country where the rare gemstone, tanzanite, is mined but the country has so far not benefitted from the mineral which was first found in 1968.

“The entire tanzanite business system is steeped in robbery, fraud, irregularity and secrecy from small scale miners and large companies alike,” said Dotto Biteko, who chaired the tanzanite probe team, when presenting the report.

According to Mr Biteko, only 20 per cent of tanzanite mined is presented for the requisite taxes and royalties to the government through the proper channels while the remainder is sneaked out.

“The government has no access to the important mining chambers of the Williamson mine at any stage, from drilling, packaging, loading and exportation,” added Mr Zungu.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201709100024.html

Congo-Kinshasa: Is Child Labor the Price for E-Cars?

Edited

23rd August 2017

ANALYSIS
By Helle Jeppesen

Whether in cars, laptops or smartphones, cobalt is in nearly all batteries. The biggest supplier is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where human rights are often violated in the mines.

Young men, armed with only torchlights and tools climb down in a deep, dark hole, without helmets or security gear. The path becomes even smaller as they go further down into the unsecured tunnel. To remove the cobalt, the young miners use chisels and hand hooks and then place the gem rocks into bags, which are then pulled up by another miner above ground.

The rights group Amnesty International witnessed this scene during a research trip in Kasulu, the former Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These mine workers are known in the DRC as Creuseurs, loosely translated as the diggers.

The mining work is divided among everyone. Men dig for the rocks in the tunnel, women wash the rocks in the river, and children are tasked with separating the cobalt from the rock with their bare hands. “Neither the children nor the adults who we met had any form of security equipment”, said Amnesty International’s researcher Lauren Armistead.

In May 2015, Armistead, her colleague Mark Dummett and a staff of the African mining resources monitoring group, AFREWATCH, researched the conditions of cobalt mining in the DR Congo for an article they titled: “This is what we die for.” When the report was published in January 2016, it caused a lot of stir due to its damning documentation of child labor in the artisanal mining sector.

“The youngest child we met was just seven years old when he first went down into the mines,” said Armistead in a DW interview. “Most children involved in sorting little rocks or crushing the stones on the surface in old industrial mines are teenagers.”

Toxic dust from cobalt stones if inhaled could lead to fatal lung diseases.”Children and adults are both struggling with respiratory problems, cough and sinus infections,” Armistead added. Moreover, the rights researcher said the sacks with the cobalt are too heavy for the children to carry. In addition, a normal working day consists of 10 to 12 hours in the blazing sun, cold or rain.

No batteries without the DR Congo

The world’s largest deposit of cobalt lies in the Copperbelt region in the DR Congo. During the mining for copper or tin, cobalt was discovered as a by-product. Through the dark tunnels of the mining fields in Haut Katanga and Lualaba, the raw cobalt materials go through several distributors before being exported. The clean cobalt is delivered to manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries, which are in high demand.

“The price of cobalt has increased by 100 percent since the beginning of this year,” said Siyamend Ingo Al Barazi, a geologist with the German raw material agency, DERA (Deutsche Rohstoffagentur). “The biggest consumer is electro-mobility.”

Al Barazi is sure that the demand for cobalt will continue to boom. However, among experts there are disagreements whether the current demand which is at 100.000 tons per year will rise to 180.000 or 300.000 tons per year, by 2025. “Which ever way you turn it, one thing remains clear, an increase in demand will take place. This leads us to the main question, whether demand can be met by supply,” Al Barazi added.

The high demand is also related to the technological developments of batteries and accumulators, according to Michael Ritthoff, an expert on recycling economy at the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy in Wuppertal, Germany. “Currently most lithium-ion batteries contain cobalt. But there are alternatives that have been developed and some can already be used,” Ritthoff said.

Daily pay: A few dollars

The price for a ton of cobalt is currently a bit under 60,000 dollars (51,000 euros). The children, women and men, removing, crushing and sorting the stones, receive around one to three dollars a day. Industrial mines, which are run by international companies, use high technology, whereas small-scale mines, which make up ten percent of the world’s supply, rely a lot on children to work under miserable conditions.

“These people have no other alternatives for survival,” said Amnesty’s Lauren Armistead. “If the companies choose to boycott cobalt from DR Congo, this would have huge unintended consequences for the people and could drive them further into poverty.”

Since Amnesty International’s damning report, some slight changes can be seen in the DR Congo. “Currently, Congolese mining authorities are trying to give artisanal miners licenses that were once only meant for major corporations,” said geologist Sebastian Vetter from the German organization, Federal Institute for Geo-science and Natural Resources (BGR).

The BGR developed a certification process for gold, tantalum, tin and wolfram in a so-called “Certified-Trading-Chains” or CTC process, where small-scale products can be tracked back to their origins. “The ability to find the origin of the resources is part of the certification. The certification itself encompasses many other criteria or standards and promises freedom, job security, the absence of children at the mines and also social standards,” said the BGR geologist in an interview with DW. According to Vetter, it would be possible, with little adaptations, to apply the CTC process on cobalt.

Cobalt no conflict mineral

However, laws in the United States, including the so-called Dodd Frank Act, and the new European Union regulation on imports, list only four minerals from conflict regions as “conflict minerals; these include gold, tantalum, tin and wolfram.” For those four minerals, companies listed in the US and the EU, which import minerals, have to state the origin of the resources and evidence of compliance with the regulations, whereas the Dodd Frank Act in the USA is restricted to the DR Congo and the region.

For other resources, an evidence of origin is not a necessity and companies usually do not deliver any proof of origin. Firms, which produce laptops, smartphones or cars, use this complex supply chains for their accumulators and battery components.

Most of these firms claim to be carrying out responsible acquisition of their resources and respect human rights. “The responses from the companies show that as long as they are not required to do something, many of them will not do it,” said Armistead.

First stop: China

The largest wholesale buyer from artisanal mined cobalt in the DR Congo is the Chinese firm Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt Co. Ltd. This corporation obtained its license from the government-owned mining company Gecamines, which was accused of corruption, favoritism and fraud in a report by the organization, Global Witness.

The price of cobalt is determined by its weight and clarity. The creusers hardly have any means to control whether they are receiving an appropriate amount for their rocks or not. Zhejiang Huayou’s subsidiary in the DRC exports the cobalt to China, where it is smelted and sold on the global market.

First attempts for human rights

Since Amnesty’s report was published in 2016, Huayous said work has been done to improve the working conditions in the Congolese cobalt mines. The aim, according to the Chinese company, is to comply with the OECD guidelines on due diligence in the supply chain.

BGR’s Sebastian Vetter confirmed that the Chinese company has changed its working policies. “Huayous’s subsidiary, Congo Dongfang Mining, is working to improve transparency in the supply chain and for better management and formalization of the mines,” Vetter said. “The will for improvement has been communicated. But whether this is enough, I cannot tell at the moment.”

In autumn, Amnesty International intends to publish an update and analyze what has changed since the previous report was published in January 2016.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201708250282.html

Africa: Governments Put Pressure on Mining Groups

By Daniel Pelz
19th August 2017

Strict laws, high taxes: Africa’s governments are looking more closely at foreign mining companies. In future, more locals will benefit from the extraction of raw materials. But the strategies are controversial.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli does not need any more opponents than he already has. Since taking office, he has contended with critical journalists, lazy officials and the European Union. The temperamental president, nicknamed “bulldozer” by the people for his strict leadership style, is now targeting foreign mining companies.

“We must profit from our God-given mineral resources,” the president said at a rally last month. His parliament made good on his words: At the president’s initiative, a new mining law was passed. In future, foreign companies will have to pay higher taxes. Their operations in the country must be 16 percent locally owned. Existing agreements with the government will be allowed to be renegotiated.

What is more, the British mining company Acacia is in trouble with local financial authorities. It is accused of deliberately downgrading its gold exports in the past to save on taxes. The group asserts that it was not aware of such practices and says it is cooperating fully with authorities. To no avail: Foreign employees are currently not being granted new visas.

Harsh allegations against corporations

New mining licenses for other companies will be given only when “things are in order,” Magufuli said. This is expected to be well-received by the people. Tanzania is the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa, but almost no one in the country benefits from the fact: One-third of the population lives in poverty.

In other parts of Africa, too, there is growing pressure on foreign companies. “It is unfortunately a populist line that many African governments have tried to follow,” Ross Harvey from the South African Institute of International Affairs told DW.

He describes the tack they take as follows: “The country is not benefitting sufficiently from mining; mining is […] simply extracting resources and repatriating profits elsewhere, [leaving] the country with nothing but a hole in the ground and no socio-economic benefits.”

This has consequences for the industry. Zimbabwe’s government wants to seize nearly 28,000 hectares (69,000 acres) of land belonging to a subsidiary of the South African mining company, Impala Platinum. The case is currently before the court. In South Africa, the government has ruled that 30 percent of shares in all mining companies must be in South African hands. Until June, that figure was 26 percent.

Experts can understand some of the measures. In some countries, foreign companies have to pay lower taxes on mineral resources than is customary today because they are still benefitting from old contracts, Robert Kappel of the GIGA Institute of African Affairs told DW. As long as world market prices remained high, African governments earned good money despite the low taxes, thanks to export charges. But those times have gone. “The prices of raw materials have been declining for years, which is why the tax on profits from the production of raw materials has fallen in the respective national budget,” Kappel said. Because their source of income has been interrupted, many African governments are now kicking into gear.

Little likely benefit to the poor

But higher tax revenues would not necessarily benefit the poor, Kappel said. “What governments do with their tax revenue is up to them. If you look at the budgets of most countries, there is not much money to help improve the situation for the poor populations.”

Even economics expert Ross Harvey says it is right for African countries to renegotiate some contracts. But he is critical of the way they are going about it. “Fighting this battle in a populist, public way through the media and through very random impositions, like an export ban introduced overnight, does not install confidence.”

And the countries need mining companies despite all. In South Africa, for example, more than 70,000 jobs within the mining industry have been lost in the past five years. This comes as the country is already suffering from a high unemployment rate.

Instead of hasty symbolic politics, governments should quietly negotiate with corporations, Harvey says, pointing to what he sees as positive examples in Burkina Faso, Namibia and Kenya.

“They [African governments] understand they need foreign investment, but also that their countries need to profit in the long term,” Harvey said.

Kappel, in his turn, says that governments should insist that people in the regions where the mines are located profited in a practical way.

“There are many way to get companies to do something for infrastructure, health care and the education system in their production areas. There are already countries that have written that into their contracts,” he said.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201708200103.html

Zimbabwe: Gold Reserves to Back Currency

28th July 2017
By George Maponga

Government is building diamond and gold reserves to back the local currency upon its re-introduction in future, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. VP Mnangagwa refused to disclose when the local currency would be re-introduced, but said it would only come back when mineral reserves reached desired levels.

He was speaking during an advocacy meeting on the new Constitution that was organised by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in Chiredzi.

VP Mnangagwa oversees the Justice Ministry.

Responding to questions on the prevailing cash shortages, the Vice President said Government was working on ways to stem the shortages.

“We are building reserves of gold and diamonds which if they reach a certain level I will not tell you here, it will then allow us to introduce our own currency that will be backed by those minerals. I am not at liberty to disclose to you the level that we want those minerals to reach before they can back our own currency,” said VP Mnangagwa.

He narrated the history of cash shortages in Zimbabwe saying problems started after the country embarked on the land reform programme. He said Government introduced bond notes to plug the smuggling of the US dollar outside the country.

“We only get foreign currency when we export something or through NGOs that come into our country. Forex also comes from bilateral and multilateral financial support or through Foreign Direct Investment and if we do not get this there will be no forex because the US dollar that we are using is a reserve currency,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa also said Government was concerned that bond notes were now being found in some neighbouring countries, saying investigations of how they ended up there were ongoing.

He revealed that the Chiredzi leg of his ministry’s visit was the first in a series of nationwide new Constitution advocacy meetings at district level.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201707280458.html

Tanzania: Acacia Shares Fall to 3yr Low As Row With Tanzania Grows

26th July 2017

Dar es Salaam — Acacia Mining shares plunged to a more than three-year low yesterday after the Tanzania government demanded the company to pay almost $190 billion (Sh424 trillion) worth of unpaid taxes and fines.

The London Securities Exchange (LSE)-listed equities tumbled as much as 17 per cent yesterday morning after it said it had received a series of notices from the Tanzania Revenue Authority relating to the alleged missed tax payments.

The problems of Acacia’s mines in Tanzania started since March when President John Magufuli banned the export of unprocessed mineral concentrates in an effort to boost the country’s domestic smelting industry. The government has since accused Acacia, one of Africa’s largest gold producers and one of Tanzania’s largest private employers, of illegally under-reporting the amount of metal in its shipments and evading billions of dollars of taxes. Acacia warned last week that it will be forced to mothball its flagship mine if it can’t reach an agreement with the government by the end of September, having burned through almost half its cash pile in the past six months.

Shares in the company had already fallen more than 60 per cent since the start of the dispute.

On the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, the counter remained flat at Sh7,500 per share.

“It’s not easy to see immediate changes as the counter is not active since it cross-listed. I think no local investor has ever bought the shares through DSE,” said Orbit Securities general manager Juventus Simon.

The revenue authority’s assessments said Acacia owes the government a total of approximately $40 billion in unpaid taxes plus a further $150 billion in penalties and interest. Acacia has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and said it disputes the tax assessments. It added that it “is considering all of its options and rights and will provide a further update in due course”.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201707260127.html

Tanzania Slaps Acacia Mining With U.S.$190 Billion Tax Bill

By Allan Olingo

Tanzania has slapped Acacia Mining with a $190 billion tax bill, potentially escalating the dispute over royalties the government says it is owed.

The firm said it received a notice on the tax bill Monday from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for historical corporate income tax, covering the last 17 years.

TRA claims Acacia, the biggest gold miner in the country, owes the government $154 billion from its Bulyanhulu mine and $36 billion from Buzwagi.

The government said the miner owes $40 billion in unpaid taxes and $150 billion in penalties and interest.

The London-listed company however disputes the assessments.

“The assessments are issued in respect of alleged under-declared export revenues, and appear to follow on from the findings of the First Presidential Committee announced on 24 May 2017 and the Second Presidential Committee announced on 12 June 2017. As we have stated previously, Acacia refutes each set of findings and re-iterates that it has fully declared all revenues,” it said.

Acacia has referred the disputes for international arbitration.

Last week, President John Magufuli threatened to shut down all gold mines in Tanzania if the mining firms fail to resolve the tax disputes.

In response to the tax bill, the Barrick Gold-owned company said it is considering all of its options.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201707260518.html

Kenya: Miner pulls out of Kwale over interference

By PAULINE KAIRU

23rd July 2017

IN SUMMARY

Base Titanium in Kwale pulled out its machines and workers from sites around Magaoni.

A mining company in Kwale has stopped exploring on some sites citing political interference amid fears of missing huge mineral reserves in the controversial zones.

Base Titanium pulled out its machines and workers from sites around Magaoni, following what its general manager for external affairs and development, Mr Joe Schwarz, said were inflamed passions from residents against the firm’s activities.

“The current season has brought with it a lot of political interference and incitement,” he told a meeting of the economic and macro-committee of the Vision 2030 delivery board in Nairobi on Friday.

INCITEMENT

Base Titanium and Vision 2030 had assembled to sign a memorandum of understanding to have the miner as a mining flagship project.

“Misinformation by politicians has gone into inciting residents and land holders where exploration activities were taking place.

“We were working on the site when the agitation and political incitement got to the point where we decided it is not worth pursuing because of threats to security of our employees. So we suspended it,” Mr Schwarz said.

LAND ISSUE

Mr Schwarz said politicians were exploiting land issues, which are already a source of strife at the Coast, in politicking and campaigning, whipping up emotions.

READ: Kwale-based titanium miner Base to pay more royalties

He urged the government to ensure disbursement of royalties to the county to calm the situation.

SOURCE: https://www.google.com/amp/www.nation.co.ke/news/Base-Titanium-suspends-operations/1056-4028772-view-asAMP-hox1qn/index.html

See also – Case Study: The Titanium Issue

Tanzania: Govt Advised On Natural Resources

9th July 2017
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

Dar es Salaam — The government has been advised to take concrete measures to ensure that its citizens benefit from abundant natural resources.

The measures include implementing extractive sector laws and regulations, reveal companies’ beneficial ownership, disclose gas and mineral sales, combat corruption and use data to improve institutions’ policies and practices.

Those are recommendations of the Resource Governance Index (RGI) 2017 report launched here last week.

In its findings, the report reveals that better natural resource governance can lift 1.8 billion of the global population out of poverty and that while most countries still faced daunting natural resource governance challenges, wealth isn’t a precondition for good governance.

Countries fail to follow laws

Furthermore, the RGI 2017 findings show that countries have failed to follow own laws and regulations on natural resources and that failure to control of corruption was because of increased gap between legal frameworks and adequate implementation.

Also, the report establishes that countries with good or satisfactory voice and high-level of accountability performed better in value realisation and revenue management.

Presenting the RGI 2017 report at a breakfast debate hosted by a policy forum, the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) manager for East and Southern Africa, Mr Silas Olan’g, said this year’s report covers 81 countries across the five continents in the world.

“While 47 countries were measured on oil and gas subsector, 26 on the mining and eight were assessed on both subsectors accumulating a total of 189 assessments. The countries were assessed using a composite score comprising three major components: value realisation, revenue management and enabling environment,” he said.

He said realisation and revenue management covered key policy areas administered by NRGI and that enabling environment covers broader governance context.

According to him, Tanzania scores a composite of 53 out 100 in the oil and gas and 49 out 100 in the mining subsector. The country scored 65 over 100 in oil and gas in terms of value realisation. In the mining subsector the score is 54 of 100 and that both subsectors scored 53 of 100 in enabling environment component.

In a group of 55 peers, Tanzania ranks the 22nd in the overall oil and gas score, 8th in value realisation, 34th in resource management and 25th in enabling environment. The country is ranked the 42nd among 89 countries carrying mining activities, the 38th in value realisation, 48th in resource management and 40th in creating an enabling environment.

“The RGI 2017 findings imply that the country is doing well in oil and gas as compared with the mining sector especially in areas of value realisation and creating enabling environment. However, much should be done in the area of revenue management for the country to adequately benefit from abundant natural resources,” he said.

He said the report recommended that Tanzania strengthen and implement extractive laws and regulations, particularly environment, local communities, local content, transparency and accountability.

Mr Olan’g said report has revealed significant difference in average score of laws and practices and that the gap was wider as resource governance becomes poorer, suggesting that good governance in formulating good laws, rules and respective implementation was required.

He said the government was advised to expose true beneficial owners of mining and oil and gas companies, commercial interests of officials and associates, contractual deals struck by the governments, revenue management issues and payments made by the companies.

“Public officials are also supposed to declare stakes they own in the companies. According to report where such declarations are made, they never get published,” said Mr Olan’g during the presentation.

According to him, this year’s report calls for strengthened regulations and presence of independent governing boards appointed on grounds of a well-defined system putting emphasis on technical expertise instead of political affiliations.

“It is also recommended that an open civic space to citizens and journalists lacking freedoms to speak and hold the government accountable should be protected. Also, rule of law should be strengthened, corruption control need to be scaled up and that specific laws on extractives subsector which will have great impacts to the country should be formulated,” he said.

RGI 2017 wants free access to resource governance information by improving data institutions, policies and practices. Improved institutional framework will allow regular and timely data gathering, analysis and dissemination, suggesting that data should be released using open data charter standards to improve transparency.

Former Bariadi East MP John Cheyo said the findings had been released at the right time as two presidential committee reports on minerals showed the country was losing revenue heavily due to gaps between legal framework and implementation of the laws.

He said the country’s legal framework failed to make clear the state’s ownership of natural resources, suggesting that if they were owned by the public it was supposed to be included in the legal documents including the constitution.

He said since the country’s extractive industry was in the hands of the foreign investors, public auditors were not allowed to audit the companies’ financial statements.

“The government is expected to form a team of experts to meet their Barrick Gold Plc counterparts to re-negotiate contracts and other Mineral Development Agreements entered by the country in previous years. The new laws will serve as a platform for the Tanzania team during the negotiation, which I totally support.”

Three bills passed

Parliament recently passed the Natural Wealth and Resource Contracts (Review and Re-negotiation of Unconscionable Terms) Bill, 2017; (Permanent Sovereignty) Bill 2017; and the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2017.

Sikika executive director Irenei Kiria commended President John Magufuli’s administration for tabling the bills in Parliament under the certificate of urgency, urging that the move was in line with RGI 2017 recommendations that call for strengthened legal frameworks.

“Civil society organisations have for years been demanding transparency in the extractive industry. We have been shouting for disclosure of contracts and respective revenues. We have been fighting for public ownership of the natural resources, how can I oppose that when the government wants to enact laws which will empower the country?”

Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation board chairman Sufiani Bukurura said external influence on natural resources outcome wasn’t mentioned in the RGI 2017, suggesting that regardless of geographical disparities, countries have greatly been negatively influenced by external forces in decision making to its natural resources.

“Therefore, developed countries shouldn’t be assessed alongside developing countries in the RGI and that mining subsector should be separated from the oil and gas during the assessment,” said Prof Bukurura.

Public and policy engagement expert, Evans Rubara questioned the role of civil social organisations in advising the government on formulating policies, laws and regulations that are beneficial to the country.

@Collouis

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201707100179.html

Tanzania: Straight Talk – Gold Concentrates Saga, Turning Point in TZ History?

OPINION

By Ally Salehe

There is no doubt that Tanzania has been endowed with immense resources. So abundant such that it can be stated that it stands the chance to become one of the richest countries in the world.

The resources are scattered in the forests, in the lakes, in the sea and in land. They range from natural gas, oil, iron, minerals to a long list of flora and fauna.

To most of us, Tanzania should have been a donor country had it wisely exploited its vast resources. But instead this has not been the case and hence the citizens hardly enjoy benefits accrued from them.

On the contrary, Tanzania has been a huge recipient of donor handouts and sometimes under conditions that are, at best, dehumanising. This I believe is not acceptable and it should end.

The country was shocked recently when President John Magufuli revealed a very radical approach to order that gold and copper concentrates should be smeltered locally.

However, this was not completely new to Tanzania. The bad smell on this side of investment venture has been known to many Tanzanians, especially through the calls by the Opposition, but no one would listen to them. Those in power looked the other way as opportunists ate the national cake left, right and centre.

Many committees to investigate such trends have been formed, coming up with long reports. Nothing was being done. The good thing this time around is that the President has decided to act.

Some believe that those involved in acts of economic sabotages through mineral dealings were not punished because they were close to the epicentre of power and hence they were protected.

The recent action by President Magufuli is supported by many but not to that extent. Questions are still hanging in the air. Some opine that the removal of Energy and Mineral minister Prof Sospeter Muhongo was just a political campaign to try to cleanse the government and the ruling party which have long been informed of the trend. He is a sacrificial lamb.

Asking Prof Muhongo to step down while this has been happening for years, might appear to mean to absolve all other ministers and key executives who have overseen the ministry and hence the exportation of containers containing the said big amount of gold.

But also this decision will not be of great benefit if the government would not implement what has been advised all along in a bid to totally end the trend but also in a way that the government respects its contractual obligations.

The euphoria should not end with a negative note by being taken to international arbitration bodies for violating contractual obligations as provided under contracts the government has wilfully and freely entered with those firms probably with the right to these containers for processing outside the country.

We believe the government has been prepared to face off any legal challenge that will emanate from such action which seems to be popular with the people, knowing that there are cases that the government has found itself on the wrong side when enough care was not taken.

It is the ardent hope of the citizens that President Magufuli will also turn his head towards other rotten sectors that are sadly part of his own government and where there are complaints that things are not well and the “eating of the country” is going on unabated.

But to many the main problem is that there is a flaw in the law and this should be addressed urgently to save this country before it is too late. We do not require formation of commissions to give publicity to the Presidency when this would have been addressed if there were strong laws and strict implementation.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201707100177.html