Why uranium project is Ruvuma’s future

TANZANIA Uranium is an important element that plays a critical role in the world’s energy supply.

It is of great importance as an energy source, as it can be used to produce nuclear fuel, which is used in nuclear reactors.

It makes up 10% of the world’s annual electricity generation. With countries turning back to nuclear power as a clean energy resource, uranium has become a strategically important resource for the future.

With growing uranium resources, government’s support and increased interest from nuclear global players, Tanzania is may become a significant player for the global nuclear energy sector.

Currently the country is heading for a new dimension in large-scale uranium mining. Significant uranium deposits have been identified in various parts of the country.

According to Tanzania Invest, huge deposits of uranium have been found in the country, mainly in Namtumbo (Mkuju), Bahi, Galapo, Minjingu, Mbulu, Simanjiro, Lake Natron, Manyoni, Songea, Tunduru, Madaba, and Nachingwea.

How can uranium deposits influence the life of a community? Taking Namtumbo District as an example. The Mkuju River Project, a uranium mining project in the Ruvuma Region, is expected to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) amounting upto US$ 1bn over the project’s life.

When operations at the MRP commence, Tanzania would become Africa’s third largest producer of the mineral after Niger and Namibia.
Mkuju River is one of the major uranium development projects located in southern Tanzania, about 470 km southwest of Dar es Salaam. Nowadays the project maintains an active status since research, preparatory operations are under way. Uranium mining is planned for 2029.

One of the companies with which cooperation is conducted is Mantra Tanzania Ltd. To conduct uranium mining an open-pit method will be used, however, in-situ recovery or ISR might also be possible. It is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to extract uranium due to its low energy consumption, no waste rock dumps and aquifer self-restoration after ISR.

However, it is important not only to work with mineral resources and technologies, but also to participate in the life of the population on the territory of which mining is carried out, to promote the development of communities, to educate them. Some 1,600 people may be employed during construction and there will be 750 permanent jobs when the mine starts operations.

Despite the rapid pace of development, by 2022 Africa still has a lower level of education than most European countries: the average literacy rate is 70% for males and 50% for females.

That is why one of the aims of major companies in the African continent is to train human resources for economic, industrial and energy-related professions.

Since 2014 Mantra Tanzania Ltd has been developing social projects in Tanzania, realizing the importance of supporting local communities and seeing it as the main value.
There are already several educational projects launched in the Ruvuma region.

For instance, in order to train qualified staff, free training was organized by Russian universities, such as RUDN (Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia), Tomsk Polytechnic University, National Research Nuclear University MEPhI.

As part of the scholarship programs from the following universities, students from Tanzania can learn engineering disciplines in the nuclear and energy sectors.

Another initiative to promote education was providing equipment and updating regional school libraries. Already modern libraries were created in 11 schools, and 9 of them – from scratch.

For example, in 2017 Rosatom in partnership with an NGO called READ International, transformed unused rooms in Tanzanian Korido, Secondary School into well-stocked libraries.

The libraries were provided with all the essentials: shelves, tables, seats and books. The library refurbishing initiative aims to address the distinct lack of access to educational resources in Tanzanian secondary schools.

In gaining access to a library students read more, learnt more and got further in their studies. The initiative paved the way for students and teachers to have access to educational resources necessary for the development of a reading culture.

Another example is that in 2021 Mantra Tanzania Ltd donated the completed electronic library to Pamoja High school of Namtumbo. It is an important milestone in the use of technology in learning in the district. Using the resources of the electronic library, students will be able to read and watch materials on school subjects, teachers will be able to download and share information and plans for preparing lessons.

By creating a functional and inspirational learning environment, the initiative has paved the way for students and teachers to have access to educational resources necessary for the development of a reading culture.

Mantra Tanzania Ltd also supports schools, such as Mpuluzi High school and Selous Secondary School.

The projects range from providing fresh water to organizing creative competitions. For example, in 2023 four winners of the dance and singing competition are participating in the NuclearKids, an annual International creative project, organized by Rosatom.

Its main goals are to develop new traditions of cultural interaction between children of nuclear industry employees and create conditions for realizing the creativity of these talented children.

Even now while uranium mining has not started in the region, it is possible to observe significant changes in the region’s economy related to education. Increasing the level of education in African countries, including Tanzania, is an opportunity not only to improve the region economically, but also to attract young talents who in the future may become experienced and qualified specialists in the Tanzania’s projects.

Related Articles

Back to top button