Tanzania Looks to Gold and Base Metals for Growth


"Tanzania hopes to grow its mining industry by at least 7.7% annually for the next five years."

All Africa, Leonard Magomba

Tanzania hopes to grow its mining industry by at least 7.7% annually for the next five years. The growth of the industry will be mainly buoyed by increased investment in the production of coal, uranium and nickel—three sub sectors the government sees as potential big income earners. The Tanzania Mining Report in the Business Monitor International magazine said increased gold production and large-scale commercial uranium mining would also drive this growth.

Tanzania is Africa's third largest gold producer after Ghana and South Africa but also has reserves of diamonds, uranium, nickel and coal.

"Coal is set to become one of the fastest-growing mining sectors in Tanzania as the country looks to coal-fired power to offset an energy shortage that is holding back development," the report said.

Tanzania's coal fired generation of power is set for a significant boost after a joint venture between the government and a private company, Tancoal Energy.

"We have hit intended targets and there are 400 million metric tons of coal in the Ngaka basin, which is a big resource base," said Peter Tsegas, managing director of Tancoal.

Earnings from gold exports jumped by 62% in the year to July 2010 to $1.36 billion, while volumes rose by 31% to 38.1 tons, according to the country's central bank.

When opening the new offices of the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission in Arusha, President Jakaya Kikwete said Tanzania was eyeing the world's biggest uranium producer slot.

"If all the reserves we have are fully exploited, Tanzania can become the seventh leading uranium producers in the world," said Kikwete.

Tanzania, which mainly depends on tourism, mining and agriculture, is attracting investor interest in telecommunications, energy, manufacturing, financial services and transport, and expects its economy to grow by 7.2% in 2011 from 7.0% last year.

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