Dar es Salaam — The first part of the uranium production will start in the second quarter of 2014 as the producer said all production in the first phase will be for the exportation rather than for local use.
Sources from Mantra Tanzania Limited said Tanzanian have nothing to worry as the first batch of the whole production of the uranium mining under Mkuju River Project (MRP) will be for the foreign market first.
"The MPR is shaping up as a truly world-class project and has the potential, in its first phase of its development, to position Tanzania as the third largest producer of Uranium in Africa," the source said.
The government has guaranteed compliance to safety measures at all stages of uranium mining activities following approval by the UN World Heritage Committee to change the borders of Selous Game Reserve where Uranium is found.
Speaking to East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam last week, Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Amb Khamis Kagasheki said the country has nothing to worry about, in connection with the acclaimed hazards of uranium as application of modern technology would assure safety to the environment and lives.
"The area set aside for the project is hardly 0.8% of the total area (about 200 square kilometers). The Selous Game Reserves covers a total area of 54,600 sq. km (21,100 sq ml) and has additional buffer zones," Kagasheki said.
The definitive feasibility study, completed in May 2011, indicated that, once developed, the mine will produce 1,990 tonnes of uranium oxide a year and will immediately overtake the USA which produces 1,560 tonnes according to 2009 estimates.
The construction of the MRP planned to commence on the third quarter of 2012, with a 21 month construction period envisaged. It will be the first major mining development within South Eastern Tanzania, bringing jobs and prosperity to a currently under-developed region.
"This will make the country the eighth largest producer in the world," the Mantra official said and added, at this level of production Tanzania will produce three times more uranium oxide than South Africa."
Tanzania is expecting an average annual production of 4.2 million pounds (1,900 tonnes) with the potential to expand production further in a second phase.
The project will have an initial mine life of 12 years, but with a very strong potential to increase this period significantly, the Mantra statement said and it added that, exploration at the Mkuju River Project site is continuing as the deposit has only been explored for less than four years.
The life of a mine, average operating cost of $22.04 per pound, which makes this a low cost producer, as the capital cost including all associated infrastructure was $390 million (Tsh 670 billion).
Several measures which have been taken so as to avoid the effects of the Uranium mining process are together with provision of education to people who are near by the project area, the Mantra said.
Mkuju River Project estimated to create 1,200 jobs during the construction and 600 permanent jobs created during steady state production.