Hizi ndiyo faida za kuwekeza Nchini Tanzania ndugu JK ?


JF-Expert Member
Aug 7, 2006

There is a proposal by Tata Chemicals Ltd. to construct a soda ash
extraction plant at Lake Natron in Tanzania. We the Lake Natron
Consultative Group are concerned about this proposal because:
Thousands of people work for the tourist industry around lakes Nakuru,
Bogoria and Manyara, where pink flamingos are a major attraction. The
masses of pink flamingos have been called “the world’s greatest
ornithological spectacle”. Lake Natron is the ONLY significant and regular
breeding site for the East African population of these Lesser Flamingos.
In addition:
The area is part of a bigger shared ecosystem which links to key protected
areas in both Kenya and Tanzania. These include Ngorongoro Conservation
Area, Serengeti National Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli
National Park and the Loita Forest.
Lake Natron and its surroundings support the pastoral livelihoods of
Maasai people both in Kenya and Tanzania
Lake Natron is a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar
Convention, as well as an Important Bird Area under the BirdLife
International classification.

The Soda Ash Mining Proposal
Tata Chemicals Ltd, through Lake Natron Resources (TZ) Ltd, a company it
has formed in conjunction with National Development Corporation is
proposing to construct a soda ash extraction plant at Lake Natron in
Tanzania. Tata Chemicals Ltd also owns majority shares in Magadi Soda
Company in Kenya. The proposal to the Government of Tanzania is aimed at
constructing a processing plant capable of producing 500,000 metric tonnes
of soda ash annually. The plant will have associated infrastructure,
including a new tarmac road, living accommodations for an estimated 1,225
construction workers and 152 permanent staff and their families. In
addition, the plant will consume 11.5 megawatts of power and utilise
106,000 litres of fresh water per hour.

We are deeply concerned that a large scale project like the one proposed
by Tata Chemicals is not appropriate for a fragile ecosystem like Lake
Natron and the surrounding areas. It is our considered view that the
impacts of such a project on tourism, biodiversity, community livelihoods
and natural resources in the Eastern African region are going to be
adverse, long term and irreversible.

Our concerns

We wish to voice our concerns as follows:

Impacts on Lesser Flamingos – Over two million Lesser Flamingos in eastern
Africa use only one nesting site: Lake Natron. These birds are sensitive
to disturbance during breeding. They nest in locations that have minimal
human interference and It takes very little disturbance to cause an entire
breeding colony to abandon its breeding effort entirely. The mining of
soda ash from this lake is likely to gravely affect the breeding and hence
survival of this species that is listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened

Impacts on tourism and national economies - The impacts of the local
extinction of Lesser Flamingos will be enormous and far reaching; it will
lead to unprecedented damage to the tourism industry in the Eastern
African region. In 2006 Kenya earned US$ 886 million from tourism revenue.
In Kenya’s central rift, the tourism industry is largely supported by the
Rift Valley Lakes and the flamboyant flamingos, whose only breeding site
is now under threat. Thousands of jobs may be at stake. Furthermore, the
proposed project goes counter to the proposal by South Rift Association of
Landowners (SORALO), a coalition of 15 Maasai group ranches, to open up
the Southern Tourism Circuit with a view to connecting Amboseli and Maasai
Mara with support from the Kenya Government and European Union through the
Tourism Trust Fund (TTF). Shompole Community which is a member of SORALO
recently won the UNDP Equator Prize for its contribution to biodiversity
conservation and poverty alleviation.

Damage to local economies & livelihoods – The proposed project will
consume 106,000 litres of fresh water per hour. At this rate, the plant
will consume 1,600,000 litres of water within 10 hours – which is
sufficient to meet a day’s needs for the 40,000 livestock in Magadi
division. Fresh water is extremely scarce in this area; coming from the
Ewaso Nyiro river system in Kenya and Pinyiny, Moinik and Ngare Sero
rivers in Tanzania. Abstraction of such huge amounts of fresh water will
therefore create a water crisis in the border area. As things stand, the
water supply is not sufficient to meet domestic, wildlife and livestock
and the proposed plant will completely destabilise any existing balance.

Contravention of Ramsar Convention and other International Agreements –
The Republic of Tanzania is a signatory to various international
conventions that do not seem to be taken into account in the proposed
project. These include the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and the
Convention on the Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). These
agreements require signatories to seek consensus from neighbouring states
in the management and development of shared ecosystems. We are gravely
concerned that other Eastern African states have not been consulted and
involved in the proposal development process. The Ramsar convention
advocates for parties to develop management plans for sites listed under
its criteria, and any development projects implemented only within the
framework of such plans. As far as we know, the Republic of Tanzania has
not developed a management plan for Lake Natron Ramsar Site.

Doubts about the EIA Process – The Environmental Impact Assessment process
which is being undertaken by Norconsult (TZ) Ltd has not been
participatory. The proponent has not carried out a comprehensive
consultation with all interested and affected institutions, communities
and individuals outside Tanzania. This ignores the protocols developed by
East African Community states pertaining to natural resource management,
including Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) and guidelines for management of transboundary

Past experiences with Tata Chemicals Ltd – It is impossible not to think
about Tata Chemicals Ltd projects elsewhere, especially the long term
mining operations in Magadi, Kenya. A few years ago, the operations in
Magadi were expanded by constructing a second plant. This construction was
shrouded in secrecy, with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
process ignoring most of the key stakeholders working in the area.
Important issues such as water requirements for the plant seem not to have
been thought through, and currently, part of the new factory has been shut
down ostensibly due to an acute shortage of water. We therefore have a
strong basis for urging extreme caution based on these previous

We therefore call upon:

The government of the republic of Tanzania to reconsider the project in
view of the negative effects it is going to have on national economies,
biodiversity conservation and local community livelihoods in the region.
It should bear in mind that in 2000 Kenyan authorities abandoned a
proposed hydro-electric project at Ewaso Nyiro River following protests
from Tanzania citizens.

The governments of other countries in the Eastern African region to
intervene with the Tanzanian authorities in order to impress on them the
dangers their respective countries are likely to suffer if the project is

The East African Community to intervene and facilitate dialogue on this
matter. It is in the interest of the Community to ensure that sufficient
debate and dialogue is allowed by all member countries before any action
is taken

Tata Chemicals Ltd to look not only at the profits after project
implementation but ask itself: “at what cost?”

SOURCE: Environment Liaison Center International (ELCI)
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