Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo
Despite a public outcry over potential harm that uranium might bring to the environment and people in the designated mining areas, the government has stated that extraction of the mineral resource will start soon.
The minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo declared yesterday in Dar es Salaam that the extraction of uranium is soon expected to start at Mkuju River area in Namtumbo district, Ruvuma region.
According to the minister, it has been ascertained that the extraction of the minerals would bring no harm to either people or the surrounding environment.
The minister was speaking at a meeting attended by the representatives of the European Union (EU) in which cooperation with the government on mining in the area featured prominently.
We will dig uranium mining even if there is a distortion from the effects of the mines, he specified.
The government through local and foreign experts has taken measures to ensure that there is no harm arising from mining activities, he stated.
However, the Executive Director of Mantra (T) Ltd, Asa Mwaipopo said that the company has already received an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate from the National Environmental Management Council for its Mkuju uranium project.
The company intends to use the dry season for mining activities so that heavy lorries and other equipment can use earth roads characterising the area, he said.
Mkuju river project has an update on resources of 119.4 million pounds (54,159) tons of uranium, he said, noting that it would take about two years to complete construction work for the project.
The development of the Mkuju river project will, apart from attracting foreign direct investment FDI worth over $1 billion in Tanzania during the life span of the mine, it will also generate direct and indirect cash flows to Tanzania of about $640 million.
Meanwhile the Ambassador Head of delegation for European Union, Filberto Cerian Sebregondi has said that they recognize that energy is one of the most important things in the country and they want to support Tanzania in finding the resources to finance energy.
He said that the EU was working with the government of Tanzania to ensure the extraction of uranium is properly conducted, noting that it can contribute to diminishing the energy supply problem in the country. Efforts will be needed to make the uranium-based energy economical for local users, he said.
Mkuju River is an enclosed area for recovering uranium located in southern Tanzania, about 470 km southwest of Dar es Salaam. The Mkuju River project is owned by Mantra (T) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mantra Resources Pty Ltd. (formerly Mantra Resources Ltd.), an Australian firm in which the Russian firm, Uranium One has a minority interest. About 51 per cent of shares of this company are owned by JSC Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), a Russian nuclear energy giant.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN