Mwanza — The Iron ore mine at Liganga, Southern Tanzania will start operations next year while production of iron and steel products is slated to start in 2016.
A joint venture company, Tanzania-China International Mineral Resources Limited (TCIMRL), is expected to invest about $2 billion in the project.
Studies have already shown that a viable iron and steel complex can be created.
Apart from iron and steel products, it will also produce vanadium pentoxide and titanium dioxide. When contacted last week, Tanzania Minister for Energy and Minerals Prof Sospeter Muhongo referred the matter to the National Development Corporation (NDC).
However on the condition of anonymity, senior NDC officials told East African Business Week there was significant progress. "Almost everything is in place. We are optimistic that production will commence late next year or early 2016," one of the officials said.
A sponge iron plant will also be set up in Ludewa District, Njombe region utilizing iron ore from Maganga Matitu and coal from Katewaka to produce sponge iron. Maganga Matitu is part of Liganga.
Maganga Matitu Resources Development Limited (MMRDL) is implementing the project and the shareholders are NDC and MM Steel Resources Public Limited Company (MMSR PLC).
When operational, the project would establish 330,000 tons per annum (tpa) of Sponge Iron Plant with 45 MW Captive Power Plant.
At 250,000 tpa of steel billet will be produced from sponge iron per year-production is expected to start in 2013/14.
Ludewa District is about 850 kilometres Southwest of Dar es salaam. It is the biggest source of iron ore in Tanzania with estimated reserves of over 1.2 billion tons.
The iron ore deposited in Liganga is known as Vanado-Titanium Magnetite. Iron ore is a resource for steel manufacturing industries and other ferrous-based industries.
The Board Chairman of National Development Corporation, Dr Chrisant Mzindakaya was in the past quoted in a section of the media saying a task force has been set up to check the participation of local people in this integrated project expected to produce 300MW and 500,000 steel products.
He said foreigners would be restricted to provide locally available services-this, according to Dr. Mzindakaya, would enable the participation of Tanzanians in the project.
The project is expected to add 600MW of electricity to the national grid.