Tanzania: Govt Issues Ultimatum to Undeveloped Coal Mines

MINISTER for Minerals, Dr Doto Biteko has issued a three month ultimatum to the Mining Commission to conduct a thorough assessment and revoke all licences of non-developed large coal mines.

He said after revoking the ownership, the mines will be provided to other investors, who are capable of developing them given the high demand of the coal which is used in power production.

Dr Biteko issued the instructions on Tuesday, while responding to a statement from Ruvuma Regional Commissioner, Colonel Laban Thomas, who said there are some companies and private individuals who are holding enveloped coal plants despite the huge demand in the market.

"I'm instructing them to immediately develop the coal mines... those who are incapable should either partner with big companies that have capital, technology and equipment. The Mineral Commission should take measures against those who will fail to observe the requirements within three months," he said.

His instructions have come as part of implementation of the global resolution that seeks to use coal as a source of energy before moving to green technology, as it was discussed during the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) held in Sharm El-Sheikh city in Egypt.

He also assured of the government's commitment to continue addressing challenges facing the mining sector for the sake of empowering miners and enabling the country to increase its revenues from the sector.

The minister said, since there is a limit for the use of coal, the government makes better use of the opportunity by increasing production of the coal in a bid to create more employment from the mineral sector.

Speaking on the contribution of coal into the national economy, Dr Biteko said in the fiscal year 20121/22, a total of 1.47 million tonnes of coal worth 485.5bn/- was produced from the Ruvuma region.

"In the same period, Songwe region produced 16.328.35 tonnes of coal worth 1.1bn/- while Njombe region registered a production of 2,762.76 tonnes worth 234m/-," noted the minister.

He further explained that in the current financial year 2022/23, until September this year Ruvuma region recorded a production of 764,816.15 tonnes of coal worth 287.5bn/-, Songwe with 4,587.9 tonnes valued at 331.3m/-, and Njombe region-a total of 444.41 tonnes valued at 47m/-.

"These records show that Ruvuma region has recorded a high production of coal as a result of generating high income from coal mines," he noted, reminding all investors in the mining sector to fulfill the obligation of paying government tax and adherence to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Earlier, the Ruvuma Regional Commissioner, Col Thomas said coal mining has played a huge role in employment creation and source of government revenues.

He said, in the financial year 2021/22 Ruvuma region collected a total of 21bn/- from coal minerals out of the target that was set at 12bn/-.

"And for the financial year 2022/23, the region has been tasked to collect 17bn/-, but until November 2022 a total of 15bn/- had been collected. We are expecting to collect between 30bn/- and 40bn/- by June 2023," he explained.

For his part, the Chairman of the Parliamentary committee for Energy and Minerals Dunstan Kitandula asked the ministry to repossess all the undeveloped mines plots before distributing to the potential investors.

"We are expecting to get a full report on implementation of those directives by January 2023," said Mr Kitandula.

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