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Tanzania keen for Liganga, Mchuchuma swift take-off

Tanzania keen for Liganga, Mchuchuma swift take-off

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has called for the removal of red tape delaying the implementation of Mchuchuma and Liganga projects, saying it is high time the projects take-off.

The President said there is a need to establish the reasons behind the delay of the strategic extractive projects, saying the government would not hesitate to act if the investor is incapable of implementing the projects.

President Samia was speaking shortly after inaugurating a gold refinery plant in Mwanza during her ongoing official tour in the region. She said for a long time the investor has failed to implement the projects, citing bureaucracies.

“We had a meeting recently with the investor, and we have decided to clear the way for him, what he calls obstacles will be removed and then we will wait for him to start up the business,” she noted.

Ms Samia said there was also the possibility that the investor was deliberately choking the projects, and that to clear the matter, the government will cut red tape, if any, to allow the projects to take off.

President Samia directed relevant authorities to establish the hitches that have been holding back the projects, stressing their significance in the country’s development endeavor.

“Sometimes the investor may be delaying the project to enable his country to dominate the iron market, we must look into this as well,” she said. “We are going to resolve all challenges and remove what he terms as obstacles, and then if he fails to start up the business after that, we will show him the exit door,” added President Samia.

She said it is high time the government stops discussing Liganga and Mchuchuma and instead the production must kick off for the benefit of the nation.

“We have been talking about the Liganga and Mchuchuma since when I was a Minister until today, it is high time we end this story,” she said.

It is estimated that Mchuchuma coal deposits have more than 480 million tonnes of coal reserves.

In September 2011 China’s Sichuan Hongda Co. Ltd. signed a 3bn US dollars deal with Tanzania to mine coal and iron ore in the country.

The investment involves construction of the Mchuchuma coal mine, a 220kv transmission line between Mchuchuma and Liganga for supplying the Liganga Metallurgical Complex, and an accompanying 600-megawatt (MW) thermal power station.

In 2013 it was reported that the power station would be constructed over the next three years, with the first 300 MW planned by 2015.

However in October 2014 it was reported that construction would begin on the projects in 2015, and expected to be completed by 2019.

The estimated 3bn US dollars cost for Mchuchuma and Liganga iron ore mines and plants would be sourced in partnership between the government and Sichuan Hongda.

In May 2016 it was reported that work on the mining projects had been pushed to 2017.

According to an October 2016 report, the process of evaluating compensation for 126 households around the Mchuchuma projects was completed in September 2015 but the process of compensating the villagers was not subsequently carried out.

In March 2017 it was reported that the government was in the midst of settling issues with investors regarding incentives and power tariffs.

According to a March 2017 report, the mines ministry had opened an inquiry into the performance of Sichuan Hongda Group in the wake of disappointment with the firm’s performance.

In September 2018 it was reported the country will need 645.75m US dollars for the plant, and that the project’s feasibility studies still need to be actualized.

In May 2020, the government reaffirmed its plans to proceed with the plant. However, there have been no developments on the project since.

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Author: SULEIMAN SHAGATA IN MWANZA

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