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Production of iron, steel to shore up national economy

TANZANIA is set to save huge amounts of foreign exchange when the country starts commercial production and exports of iron and steel in 2018.

According to the National Development Corporation (NDC) acting Managing Director, Mr Mlingi Mkucha, construction of the iron ore mining and iron smelting plants at Liganga will start early next year and production is scheduled to start in 2018.

Speaking during a ceremony at which NDC was awarded two special mining licences for Liganga iron ore and Mchuchuma coal mine by the Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Mr Mkucha said once production is in place, Tanzania will be among the top four iron producers in the continent because they will set up a Iron and steel metallurgical Complex.

“A lot of revenue will be saved once the importation of iron is curtailed to give way to local production. We will be producing 1.1 million tonnes a year,” he told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview.

He said that a lot of iron and steel are imported for the construction of bridges and high rise buildings. But this importation will be whittled down once local production take off, he said.

Mkucha said the iron production will elevate the country to the middle income category and make realization of the 2025 vision of becoming a middle income country possible.

He added that they will embark on five projects which are coal mine, iron ore, production of 600-MGW electricity, construction of a steel complex and installation of a transmission line from Mchuchuma to Liganga for the iron production complex.

Moreover, before the take off, he said, they will construct a 75-kilometre road at tarmac level for easy assess to the mines. He said the Liganga Iron Ore project is the biggest so far in the country with an estimated reserve of over 1.2 billion tonnes.

The construction is a joint venture between China International Mineral Resources Limited (TCIMRL) and Tanzania’s NDC. A total of 3bn/- US dollars will be spent for both projects. Iron ore is a resource for steel manufacturing industries and other ferrous based industries.

The project is being developed by TCIMRL as an integrated project with Mchuchuma. The Liganga iron ore mine and Iron and steel Complex is expected to produce 1.0 million tonnes of iron and steel products, vanadium pentoxide and titanium dioxide.

NDC on behalf of the government in September 2011 signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Sichuan Hongda Group limited to Implement the project under a Joint Venture company; namely Tanzania China International Mineral resources Ltd (TCIMRL). TCIMRL is keen on investing USD 1.3 billion.

The project intends to establish 3.0 million tonnes a year of coal, build a 600 MW Thermal Power station; and construct 220 kV Transmission Line Mchuchuma- Liganga and a 400 Kv transmission line Mchuchuma- Mufindi to connect to the grid.

The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Muhongo, called for a timely start of the projects so that the intended goals are met as agreed.

Source – dailynews

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