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Govt: We won`t use uranium to generate power for now

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by BabuK, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Aug 5, 2011
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    The government has reiterated its stand that the country is not in a position to generate power from uranium due to not only its delicacy that needs sophisticated technology, but also to substantial investment.
    Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday, commissioner for minerals in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals Dr Peter Kafumu said uranium needed human and environmental precautions and, as such, the project could take some years.
    “We are not thinking of using uranium to generate power for the time being because nuclear reactors are delicate and expensive to handle but when appropriate time comes then, policies, laws and specific regulations will be enacted to guide the process,” he explained.
    He also allayed fears over possible human and environmental perils if the decision to extract uranium was implemented as the laws and regulations enacted last year would not only guide the process but also ensure safety and win-win situation with investors.
    “The 2010 Mining Act and its regulations point out that the role of the government will be to control exploration, storage and exportation of uranium to avert smuggling into the black markets especially for manufacturing military weapons,” he said.
    He explained that with the new Mining Act and its regulations, the export permit could only be issued by the minister responsible for Minerals and Energy and the buyer should be well known.
    He insisted that the new mining Act and regulations stipulated categorically how uranium should be extracted safely taking into consideration hazardous environmental impacts. The radioactive mines become unsafe at the processing stage which will not be carried in the country.
    He said the decision to initiate uranium extraction was fuelled by the growing world demand that was outstripping supply thus becoming a significant source of revenues to the country. Records show that about a third of annual demand for uranium is being met by declining inventories.
    According to Dr Kafumu some foreign mineral companies have been granted exploration licences while other investors have expressed their interests in the business.
    “Favourable regulatory and stable political conditions for exploration, as evidenced by the boom in the gold mines, as well as the strong investment in nickel, platinum and coal exploration are some of the attracting features to the investors,” he said.
    Some legislators and various groups of activists are opposed to uranium projects in the country due to their multiple effects on the environment and people.
    Experts have it that despite the favourable geology for uranium deposits the average historical local expenditure of the mineral has been minimal to below 10 per cent compared to West Africa and the United States which are above 10 per cent and 200 per sq km respectively.
    Some of the foreign companies carrying uranium explorations include the Uranium Resources Plc, a uranium mining company focusing on Southern Africa and Australia-based Western Metals Ltd. The recent exploration results were highly encouraging.
    The uranium project by the Australian based Mantra Resources in the Selous game reserve has reached advanced stage.
    In the meantime, Dr Kafumu has said the country has sufficient experts in the uranium sector to handle processes regarding exploration, storage and exports. But the human resources investment is currently focusing on expertise for power generations.
    “We have eight commissioners and 13 assistant commissioners who are mining experts stationed at different zones countrywide and could easily handle all issues regarding uranium extractions,” Dr Kafumu said.
    The eastern zone comprises Tanga, Coast and Dar es Salaam regions, Central covers Singida, Dodoma and Tabora, Lake zone comprises Mwanza, Kagera and Mara regions and Southern regions are Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma.
    He said the government in collaboration with some development partners would offer MA scholarships to specialise in the handling of uranium extraction and its processes including power generations.
    He said the United States and Australia have offered four scholarships to develop domestic technological expertise in handling its extraction.