25 August 2014

Tanzania: New Act to End Mining Hitches

Songea — IN a bid to reduce bureaucracy in the mining industry, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals will table a bill during the next parliamentary session containing proposed amendments of the Mining Act of 2010 that will address, among others, the online transaction concept.

The Commissioner of Mining, Engineer Paul Masanja, made the announcement on Sunday when addressing the ministry's staff in the Lake Nyasa Zone on the eighth day of the visit by the Permanent Secretary (PS), Mr Eliakim Maswi, to various projects in the zone. Eng.

Masanja said the miscellaneous amendment act is ready while the Attorney General's Chambers have assured them that come next parliamentary session, the bill will be tabled.

We want to operate scientifically and once the act is in place, we will get rid of unnecessary delays in getting a mining licence, ownership of undeveloped plots and corrupt practices will come to an end," said Eng. Masanja.

He said had it not been for the Constituent Assembly (CA), the bill would have been tabled in which proposed amendments include definition of small-scale mining/miners as those with capital not exceeding 2.5m/-.

Other proposals are introduction of online transaction of mining, including mineral rights applications, online payment and administration of mineral rights.

It also entails inclusion of the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency, increasing penalties for offenders from 5m/- to 10m/- as well commissioning more powers to the Commissioner of Minerals to forfeit minerals possessed illegally.

Mr Masanja further said that under the amendments, mining development agreement will be valid for a period of 10 years subject top renewal upon mutual agreement.

The act will be a solution to those holding plots without developing them, as holders of mining licence or with special mining licence to commence mining activities within 18-months from the date of grant of licence. It will also allow for an introduction of sorting and valuation fee, which shall be payable to the government by mineral right holders who opt to sell diamond and other gemstones produced.

Eng. Masanja said they intend to make Tanzania among the areas where stakeholders in the sector can conduct their registration whenever they are as well as know which plots are occupied. "We have engaged a consultant to do infrastructure so that once the act is endorsed, it should be effected immediately," he said.

Eng. Masanja said he will take actions against zonal managers who fail to meet the revenue collection target "as they have no reason to fail."

"We have given you all the necessary facilities needed for you to deliver; you have to collect as agreed, failure of which I will ask the PS to take the necessary measures," Mr Masanja stressed. Mr Maswi directed the staff to observe diligence, transparency, creativity and good governance in the course of performing their duties.

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