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Technological assistance boosts artisanal miners in Kilindi District

22nd February 2012
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Altough the contribution of mining to the economy has been increasing, this sector does not benefit many artisanal miners in various regions.

The government in collaboration with various local and foreign investors has been improving this key sector.

According to the Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, there are many opportunities in the mining and power sectors which still need improvement.

He says the government through Private-Public Partnership has been inviting various firms to participate in the sectors.

“We have opened the door for investors who intend to invest in various sectors of economy for the improvement of our economy and people’s livelihood,” he says.

In a move which would ensure that small-scale miners benefit from mining activities and contribute to the growth of the economy, an Indian investor, Abhijeet, has started negotiations with small-scale miners in Kilindi District, Tanga Region, to help them import latest technology in the mining industry.

According to the company’s director of Africa Department, Abrahim Khan, already 2bn/- has been set aside by the firm for the programme.

He says his company is negotiating with local mining companies, including the small miners to establish joint ventures in various regions.

“We want to import latest mining technology for small scale mining to help improve mining techniques. We have seen the miners using outdated techniques,” he notes.

He says they have also offered foodstuff and clothing to small miners in the district, who he said has have been operating in terrible conditions.

“We have seen most of the small miners working under serious difficulties. They have high risk of losing lives because their mining operations are not environmentally friendly. They spend a lot of time in digging rocks without reaping anything,” he observes.

The Abhijeet director also says that most Tanzanians engaging in mining seem not to be ready to set accept joint ventures for mutual benefits.

“We have been negotiating with them to sign joint venture contracts, but they appear to be reluctant. It seems they are looking for quick money. They are for royalties alone accrued from their mining permits,” he explains.

“We have been asking them to bring forward their business write-ups so that we can negotiate smoothly for joint venture operations, but they are not ready. Worse, they do not have documents indicating that they possess mining permits with geologically surveyed areas possessing economic viability,” he adds.

Under the Mining Act of 2010, foreign investors are supposed to reserve 15 percent of their earnings for the benefit of Tanzanians and also have to ensure that the interests of small scale miners are protected.

Further, the law bans new foreign investors from engaging in gemstone mining like tanzanite, ruby, diamonds, emerald, sapphire, turquoise, topaz and others.

However, long time foreign gemstone investors are not affected by the new ownership rules.

The law also binds mining companies to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) and openly declare their business performance including capital gains, proceeds and other forms of profits.

Already the royalty has been raised from three to four percent, but negotiations for local retention of 15 percent of earning from mining businesses are still going on between the giant gold mining firms and the government.

Recently one of the senior officials of Abhijeet Company from India visited various parts of the country to check areas viable for investments.

During their visit they found huge potentials for harnessing investments in partnership with local investors.

Despite the fact that the company is involved in various activities like construction of roads, power production, mining, washing of steel and cement production, the company has been highly attracted in production of electricity.

The Director of the company, Abijeet Jayaswal who visited the country recently said they are interested in the production of electricity using coal and has the ability to invest in plants which could produce 1,200 megawatts.

He says the company has the capacity to implement such huge project with three years and if weather allows the project can be completed with 36 months.

He says since their company has been working in several parts of India and Africa, they have experience of implementing the project at the required standards.

“If we have agreement with the government, we shall come to invest and end electricity problem in this country. The money is there and everything is there. We have just come look for opportunities,” he says.

He also refers to some huge power projects that are being implemented in Indian for producing 5,000mega watts for cities of Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Andra Pradesh and Bengal, which will be completed in the next few years.

According to him, through competitive bidding process consisting companies from different places, the company had won a tender to build a power plant of 271 megawatts for the city of Nagpur, which is targeted in the middle of India.

He also says in recognition of company’s achievements the Indian popular newspaper “Times of India” through its parent company the Books of Times Group of India, has named Abhijeet as one of the companies that has brought reputation in India and has named Manoj Jayaswal as a leader who can see far.

Listing several photos and figures, the book which has 128 pages, has shown various people who have been praised in India, whereby Jayaswal has been regarded as a leader who can see things with his two eyes in order to bring successful results.

In a book published in 2011 under the umbrella name of “Global Indians,” there are mentioned names who are called “heroes” who contribute to economic divide of India through social sciences, sports, industrial relations, recreation and popular perspective until 2020.

On the side of sports the book names Kapil Ramial, Nikhanj a cricket-man, Sachin Tendulkar and others. The other one is a chess player. Viswanathan Anand, who is popularly known as Vishy and who in few years ago he was the world number one.

The book spells out the heroes in the industry as Rattan Tata, the manufacturers of Tata vehicles. Others are Kumar Birla, Adi Kodrej, Narayana Murthy, Mukesh Ambani, who is mentioned as one of the world’s richest men. Others are Anil Ambani, Aim Hashim Premji and Rahul Bajaj, who own the companies manufacturing Bajaj.

In terms of entertainment, those who have been named include a player of the old popular movies Amitabh Bachchan, singer and piano beat AR Rahman.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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