Bukoba — THE much-awaited Kabanga Nickel Project will soon start its operations, bringing fresh hopes to millions of Tanzanians in terms of new employment.
The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo told the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview that the Tanzanian government would buy shares which would later be sold to the public.
He appealed to Tanzanians to utilise the opportunity to speed up development. He said a total of 80 Megawatts would be produced at Rusumo Falls to generate power at Kabanga Nickel mine.
Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba said during his recent tour of Kagera Region that the project would also be linked to an international 1,672kms railway network connecting Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Keza (Tanzania) - Mungozi (Burundi) to Kigali (Rwanda).
He elaborated that a total of 1,336kms would be on the Tanzanian side, 123kms in Rwanda while the rest would be on the Burundi side.
Dr Tizeba said Tanzania was far advanced in the implementation of the international railway network linking Isaka- Keza-Kigali (Rwanda) to Msongati in Burundi.
"I want to clarify this matter because there is a lot of distortion." The government of Tanzania is mobilising own resources to construct a 317km railway line between Isaka- Keza, while governments of Rwanda and Burundi got loans from the African Development Bank (ADB) for feasibility and design work," he clarified.
The Kabanga Nickel Project is an active mine exploration project 130kms south west of Lake Victoria in Ngara District, Kagera Region.
The project is a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Xstrata Nickel. At full capacity the mine is estimated to employ over 2,000 people. At present Xstrata has invested 95 million US dollars in the pre-feasibility stage of development.
Kabanga's 58 million ton nickel mine is regarded as one of the best undeveloped greenfield nickel sulphide deposits in the world.
Since 2005, there has been continued progress made in the development of the Kabanga Nickel Project, with a significant investment to date of over 205 million US dollars in drilling and evaluation studies.
Due to the depth of the mine, Kabanga will be developed as an underground mine. The mine will use conventional underground mining and processing technology, exporting nickel concentrate to international markets. The expected mine life of Kabanga, with current resources, is approximately 30 years.