Tanzania remains steadfast in management of seabed mineral resources

DAR ES SALAAM: MINERALS Deputy Minister, Dr Steven Kiruswa has said achievements in the mining sector are highly attributed to President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s efforts to create a conducive investment environment for both local and foreign investors.

He made the remarks over the weekend when opening the 6th session of the 2023 Annual Contractors’ Meeting of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania was selected by the ISA secretariat and general secretary to host this three- day annual meeting, which is being held in Africa for the first time.

“The conducive investment environment created by the government has attracted a significant amount of FDIs (Foreign Direct Investments) in mining and other key sectors of our country’s economy. May I, therefore, take this opportunity to commend President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her exceptional leadership and guidance,” he said.

Highlighting some of the increased contribution of the mining sector to social economic development in Tanzania, he said, currently, the sector contributes 9.1 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and it is one of the fastest-growing sectors at a rate of 10 per cent per year.

In addition, he said that in the financial year 2022-2023, the mining sector contributed 56 per cent of the national total exports.

Detailing the aim of the meeting, Dr Kiruswa noted that it aims at strengthening partnerships for responsible management of seabed mineral resources in ‘the area’.

However, he said that as these seabed resources are the common heritage of mankind and Tanzania remains steadfast in its commitment to the principles and objectives enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Elaborating, he said Tanzania believes that exploration in the covered areas should be carried out in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by addressing issues of peace, security, equity, transparency, and environmental compliance.

Speaking about the meeting expectations, Representative General of the ISA, Dr Marie Bourrel-McKinnon, noted that participants amongst other things will have an opportunity to discuss the status of the ongoing work of the Council to develop the draft Exploitation Regulations.

She said that as the process is reaching a critical phase, exploration contractors were key to the process, and their views needed to be considered and appropriately incorporated into the exploitation regulations and associated standards and guidelines.

“Of course, with so many diverse viewpoints, it will take time, patience, and reflection to ensure the regulations are robust, practical, and provide an adequate balance between all interests,” she said.

She added that, according to the agenda of the meeting, a wide range of topics will be discussed in the next three days.

She added that the meeting offers the possibility to meet in person, exchange views on the respective obligations, and explore how to further strengthen cooperation.

The ISA was established as an autonomous institution under the 1982 UNCLOS to organise and control activities in the Area, particularly with a view to administering the resources of the Area.

“The Area” is defined as the seabed and subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction and its “resources” as all solid, liquid, or gaseous mineral resources in situations in the Area at or beneath the seabed.

Among other things, the ISA is mandated to provide for the necessary measures to ensure the effective protection for the marine environment from harmful effects, which may arise from mining activities in the Area.

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