MINERAL rich Ruangwa District in Lindi Region has launched a mineral trading centre to curb tax evasion and smuggling of the resources that has attracted large and small-scale miners.
The Lindi Regional Commissioner, Godfrey Zambia (pictured) said here yesterday that the new trading centre would end illegal export of minerals and assure small scale miners of a reliable market and competitive prices.
“With the mineral trading centre, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the district council will be able to collect the right fees and taxes which were once pocketed by some unfaithful mineral dealers,” he said.
Ruangwa district boasts some of richest mineral deposits in the southern regions such as graphite, gold and gemstones that are expected to change the economy of the district.
The district relies heavily on traditional small-scale farming of cashew nuts, sesame contribute over 70 per cent of revenue for the district council.
The mineral deposits have attracted a flurry of investments into the mining sector led by Australia’s Uranex Limited which is expected to begin mining of graphite in the near future and Walkabout Resources that got a mining licence for its Lindi Jumbo graphite project last year.
Other big mining companies that are set to commence graphite mining are Ngwena Tanzania Limited which is linked to Australia’s Graphex Mining Limited, Nazaret Mining Investment Company and Pacco Gems Limited Company.
A mineral official, Iddi Msikozi said the aim of opening the mineral trading centre was to provide small scale miners with reliable market for their minerals.
He said with the market, small scale miners will conduct legal trade as well as get the right price for the minerals. “The mineral trading centre will provide right statistics of mineral production, sales and collection of government taxes and fees from the business,” he noted.
He told the Lindi RC that the mineral trading centre will have various sections including inspection, registration and evaluation, auction and exchange, clearing unit, permits and government documents, officials from mineral commission, banks, TRA, brokers and dealers as well as council.
According to data from the mineral ministry and mineral commission, he said, Lindi region is one of the upcoming regions in the mineral sector. He said the region has 2,883 licences for exploration, mining and mineral trading.
Some of the minerals found in the region are gold, sapphire, tsavorite and green garnets. Also there are industrial minerals namely Gypsum, Graphite, Iron ore, Cooper ore) and salt.
The secretary of the association of miners and mineral dealers in Lindi Region Mr Peter Kabepela thanked the government for establishing mineral trading centres as it will benefit them and the nation.