24 May 2018

Tanzania: Minister Snubs Mining Firm Over 'Suspect' Official Name

Dodoma — The deputy minister of the State in the Vice President's Office (Union and Environment), Mr Kangi Lugola, yesterday asked officials of Dodoma City Council to give him the real name of a company engaged in mining of minerals within the city.

On his week-long inspection tour of the region, the deputy minister was shocked to learn that the company introduced to him at the start of his exploratory visit bore two different names. As a result, Mr Lugola abandoned his tour of the mining area and instead asked officials to reveal to him the firm's registered name.

At the start of the tour, he was told the registered name of the firm was Tanganyika Natural Stone, but upon perusal of the documents he learned that the company was also known as Israel Chunga.

The visibly angry deputy minister ordered local officials to clarify to him, which among the two names was officially registered. But there was no immediate response from the officials.

"These are some of the things we don't condone. There is something concealed here. It is unacceptable to have two names for a single company."

This (name) is different from the previous one. I shudder to imagine what would happen if you hosted a leader who does not peruse documents," Mr Lugola said.

It was at this point that the minister cut short his tour and told officials to furnish him with the legal name of the company. On his way back to the office through Ntyuka crater where small unlicensed miners were working, Mr Lugola was told that mining was done at night, causing extensive land degradation. He ordered an immediate stop to mining.

Ntyuka Secondary School teacher Ashrafy Mfaume had complained that teachers and students were affected by the noisy mining activities. He said the noise and movement of people and vehicles were distracting students from studies.

At some stage, he told the deputy minister, people suspected to be dangerous criminals were hiding and loitering in the crater, thus endangering the lives of teachers and students. Gasper Mathayo, a student at the school told Mr Lugola there was too much movement of vehicles and people in the area, saying it was difficult fo students to concentrate on lessons because of the persistent activities.

He said some students had been injured by people he claimed had come from the crater.

The deputy minister was on a special tour of parts of the city to see for himself the nature of sand mining and stone quarrying in those parts of the city. The minister had been told that illegal mining and stone extraction was harming the city's environment.

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