Friday, November 18, 2011, 5:43 African News, theafrican-Lead Story · No plan to process locally · Uranium is safe when raw By Sylvester Joseph THE first phase of uranium mining project at Mkuju River in Ruvuma region is expected to bring in 670bn/- foreign direct investment upon its implementation. It is also projected that the project which has a base of 12 years lifespan will generate approximately 430bn/- in annual foreign currency receipts. This was revealed yesterday by Mantra Tanzania Country Director, Asa Mwaipopo, during a one-day workshop organized by Institute of Engineering Tanzania (IET) through its Division of Mining and Metallurgy that brought together mining stakeholders to discuss development of uranium mining in Tanzania. According to Mwaipopo, the project has a potential of 750bn/- in payment of Government's royalties, income and employee taxes directly from the project which is within the estimated 12 years estimated life of mine but may increase if the life of mine is extended. He said implementation of the project will place Tanzania in the top 10 uranium producing countries. "It will be the first major mining development within South Eastern Tanzania, bringing jobs and prosperity to the currently under-developed region. About 1,200 jobs will be created during the construction of the project, 600 permanent jobs created during steady production and up to 4,500 further jobs through secondary industries associated with the project," he said. Meanwhile, retired Judge Mark Bomani, who is also the chairperson of the Tanzania Mining Commission appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete in 2007, cautioned that Tanzania should not fast track the process of mining uranium. "It is very important to weigh the benefits and effects that can come along with uranium mining. If benefits overwhelm disadvantages and well stipulated guidelines put in place then the country can execute this project. There is no need to rush. Uranium can have massive effects if not handled properly, but also can have greater benefits to the country," he said. Bomani who was the guest of honour at the workshop, wanted experts in the mining sector to work round the clock to make sure that Tanzania fully benefits from the project to achieve economic development and steer away inherent fears related to implementing the project over its effects. However, Mwaipopo pointed out that at this early stage, Tanzania is not capable of processing the mined uranium within the country, but rather will be exported as raw materials to countries that have uranium plants. "Minerals in its raw form have no potential to be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction and can not generate energy. Therefore, Tanzania will be safe even with the extraction of uranium. We have not yet thought of having a plant here in the country," he explained.