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Miners challenged on community projects

She made the call on Tuesday during a visit to  Mkuju on a familiarisation tour. Mantra Tanzania has already completed Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIA) for the Mkuju River Project and granting of the certificate is done by the minister responsible for environment.

After getting thorough briefing of the company operations and the visit to the site, she noted that the project is located away from the communities and would have little impact and interaction with the people."The unique feature of the Mkuju River project is that it is located so many kilometres away from local communities unlike some mining projects that have led to conflicts with local communities.

"Nevertheless Mantra Tanzania should invest in various development projects to ensure that local communities benefit," she said.The Namtumbo District Commissioner, Mr Savelli Maketta, in a quick re-joiner said that it was no doubt that the project will benefit its neighbours and the nation at large.

He, however, noted that some activists who have never visited the project were spreading rumours without undertaking facts on the matter."Local communities are anxiously waiting for the project to start. Why should activists who have not even visited the project's site  lodge complaints? This project will enable the district get  economic and social development fast.

Earlier, Mantra Tanzania Country Manager Asa Mwaipopo noted that his company completed exploration activities in 2010, a bankable feasibility Study in 2011 and is now carrying out value-re-engineering while awaiting licences and permits to start developing the mine.On allegations that Uranium may in a long run contaminate water sources around the project, Mr Mwaipopo said the mine is designed to a 'Zero discharge.'

He further said that baseline studies have already been undertaken to establish the current status and that monitoring programmes are in place to ascertain the trends.The Mkuju River project upon commencing operation will be the first major mining development in southern Tanzania and will bring in significant benefits including Foreign Direct Investment of $450 million.

It will also earn the country $250 million in annual foreign currency receipts and create up to 1,600 jobs during construction phase and 600 jobs after completion.

THE importation of motorcycles and rickshaws has helped ...

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Author: a Correspondent in Namtumbo

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