Tanzania nears finalising permit for first rare-earths mine

TANZANIA is in the final stages of approving a permit for the country’s first rare earths mine to ASX-listed Australian company Peak Resources as the government seeks a bigger share of revenue from natural resources.

The state is also finalising a gold-mining permit for another Australian company, OreCorp  at the Nyanzaga project in the northwest of the country, according to mining minister Doto Biteko.

Peak Resources applied for the special mining licence in 2017 to mine neodymium and praseodymium at world’s largest undeveloped site.

The East African nation is Africa’s fourth-biggest producer of the precious metal and plans to increase mineral earnings by at least a third during the next three years. It also has vast deposits of coal, rare-earth metals, iron ore and gemstones.

‘The government is in the final stages of awarding a special mining  operating licence to PR NG Minerals for it’s Ngualla rare earth project,’ Biteko said. The company is a subsidiary of Australia-listed Peak Resources.

Rare earths are used in components for electric vehicles, smartphones, renewable energy equipment and defence applications.

Joint ventures

Gold mining, now Tanzania’s leading foreign-exchange earner, is recovering after a slump after a crackdown on smuggling and a drawn-out dispute between the government and a unit of Barrick Gold Corporation froze exports.

The government intends to increase mining revenue to 701.1-billion shillings ($302.2 million) in 2023/2024, from a projected 526.7 billion shillings now. Tanzania will ‘increase revenues from the mining sector by 33 percent’ by boosting production and exports, curbing smuggling and ensuring closer supervision of the industry, BiBiteko said.

In October, the government received its first cash dividend of $40 million from a 16 percent stake in a joint venture with Barrick. Tanzania plans to use the Barrick partnership as a model when negotiating joint-ownership deals with all major mining companies, including with AngloGold Ashanti, in line with mining laws passed in 2017, he said.

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