- Published on Thursday, 05 July 2012 03:00
- Written by BILHAM KIMATI
- Hits: 1515
THE government has guaranteed compliance to safety measures at all stages of uranium mining activities following approval by the UN World Heritage Committee to change the borders of Selous Game Reserve where uranium is found.
Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Amb. Khamis Kagasheki, said the country has nothing to worry about in connection with the acclaimed hazards of uranium as application of modern technology would assure safety to the environment and lives at large.
"The area set aside for the project is hardly 0.8 per cent of the total area (about 200 square kilometres). The Selous Game Reserves covers a total area of 54,600 sq. km (21,100 sq mi) and has additional buffer zones," Amb. Kagasheki said.
He cited several countries like Japan and Germany where more than 80 per cent of energy is generated from nuclear reactors. "Tanzania needs energy for development. Experts will help us realize our goals. The project is economically viable and will benefit the nation significantly," he insisted.
Business companies to operate in the area, he added, would be required to meet the compulsory corporate social responsibilities as well as support to conservation efforts of the game reserve.
Clarifying on the consent by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on excavation of uranium, the minister said Tanzania presented its request for the first time to UNESCO in January, last year.
The matter was determined three days ago, he added, at the ongoing 36th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Saint Petersburg in Russia. The approval allows completion of the Environmental Impact Assessment exercise for business companies to move in," Kagasheki explained.
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. It was named after Englishman Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist, who died at Beho Beho in this territory in 1917 while fighting against the Germans during World War I.
The Selous was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and undisturbed nature. Within the reserve no permanent human habitation or permanent structures are permitted. All entries and exits are carefully controlled by the Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism.
Some of the typical animals found in the area include elephants, hippopotami, wild dog, cape buffalo, crocodiles, among others. These are found here in larger numbers than in any other African game reserve or national park.