Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, February 21, 2023.
Tanzania reportedly approves $3.5 billion oil pipeline project
The government of Tanzania on Tuesday gave its approval for the construction of a $3.5 billion crude oil pipeline, part of a controversial mega-project that has raised concerns over human rights and the environment, according to a report by a Dubai-based television network Al Arabiya.
The 1,443-kilometre (900-mile) pipeline will transport crude from vast oilfields being developed in Lake Albert in northwestern Uganda to a Tanzanian port on the Indian Ocean.
The pipeline required approval from both countries, and last month Uganda issued a license to the project operator, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
“This construction approval marks another step forward to EACOP as it allows commencement of the main construction activities in Tanzania, upon completion of the ongoing land access process,” Al Arabiya quoted EACOP Tanzania general manager Wendy Brown as saying at a function to receive the approval certificate.
The $10 billion oilfields and pipeline project has run into strong opposition from rights campaigners and environmental groups that say it threatens the region’s fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
It is being jointly developed by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and France’s TotalEnergies, along with the state-owned Uganda National Oil Company.
Petra says portion of $14.8m diamond parcel embargoed by Tanzania has been sold
Petra Diamonds Ltd, a diamond mining group headquartered in Jersey, announced on Tuesday that a portion of diamonds embargoed by the Tanzanian government following a dispute in 2017 over their export value had been sold, reports Miningmx, a website that covers Africa’s mining sector.
In 2017, the diamond miner suspended operations at one of its mines in Tanzania after the government, led by the late John Magufuli, seized diamonds worth an estimated $29.5 million after accusing the British company of undervaluing the worth of the gems.
But Miningmx reported on Tuesday that the Tanzanian government had agreed to take the parcel of diamonds – containing an estimated 71,654,45 carats – out of embargo and use the proceeds.
Use for the cash from the diamonds materialised in October after a breach in a tailings dam wall sustained at the 228,000-carat-a-year Williamson mine which Petra and the government share. Operations at the mine are suspended until mid-year.
Petra said on Tuesday the government had agreed to direct proceeds from the diamonds to Williamson, but it had “come to our notice” that some of the diamonds had already been sold. “We are engaging with the Government of Tanzania to confirm the application of the proceeds,” the website quoted the miner as saying.
This indicates that Petra did not intend to take the matter further. An estimate in 2017 put the value of the embargoed diamonds at about $14.8m.
The missing diamonds cast a shadow over an announcement on Tuesday that Petra planned to produce a million carats more diamonds in 2025 compared to output this year. This would be a result of resource extension projects at its flagship South African mines, Cullinan and Finsch, Miningmx analyzed.
Marula expands interests in Tanzania
Marula Mining, an African-focused mining company, announced on Tuesday that it has entered into an agreement with Takela Mining Tanzania Limited, to secure a 75 per cent interest in 10 granted graphite licences that make up the Nyorinyori Graphite Project
The acquisition of the project, located in the Simanjiro District in the Manyara Region of Tanzania, has been secured through staged equity payments and is subject to certain milestones being achieved.
The signing of the agreement with Takela further strengthens Marula’s position both in graphite in Tanzania and in the battery metals sector, with the company holding project interests in lithium, graphite, copper, niobium, tantalum and rare earth metals, the company said in a statement.
The agreement with Takela is in addition to the 49 per cent commercial interest the company secured in the Kinusi copper mining project located in Tanzania through Takela, announced last year.
The project is considered highly prospective for graphite, with shallow graphite mineralisation observed in the license areas and small-scale mining of graphite already taking place.
The company is currently finalising its plans to commence an initial exploration programme targeting high-grade, jumbo and large flake graphite mineralisation across the 10 granted mining licenses.
“Tanzania is a jurisdiction we are becoming familiar with, and the team at Takela is one that we are comfortable working with and who have already demonstrated an ability at identifying high-value and near-term mining opportunities,” Jason Brewer, Marula CEO, said in a statement.
Brewer said that the company’s decision to expand its interest in the graphite sector is attributable to both the opportunities it sees in Tanzania and the positive outlook for the sector and demand for graphite which makes it an essential component in many green energy technologies, including electric vehicle batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
“We intend to continue positioning ourselves strategically in Tanzania and broader afield in East Africa,” he added.
French envoy to tour Tanzania as EU-Tanzania Business Forum nears
Olivier Becht, French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, is set to visit Kenya on February 21 and 22 before coming to Tanzania on February 23.
In Kenya, Becht will hold meetings with members of the Kenyan Government to discuss the strengthening of cooperation between our countries, particularly in the areas of industry, health, agrifood and urban infrastructure, according to a statement released on Tuesday.
He will be accompanied by a delegation of businesses led by Business France and MEDEF International.
Becht will take part in the EU-Kenya Business Forum and the launch of the Communauté Afrique-France Entrepreneurs, and will meet representatives of the French business community to support the strengthening of partnerships between the Kenyan private sector and the French and European private sector. Finally, he will talk to the French community.
While in Tanzania, Becht is expected to open the EU-Tanzania Business Forum in Dar es Salaam alongside Tanzanian Vice-President Philippe Mpango, with whom he will hold a meeting on the bilateral economic relationship.
The two-day forum will take place from February 23 to February 24, 2023, in Dar es Salaam and will be inaugurated by President Samia Suluhu Hassan and closed by Zanzibar President Hussein Mwinyi.
The forum seeks to bring together potential investors from Europe, Tanzania’s businesses, the government and the EU member states in order to put all together, reflect on different opportunities on the ongoing reforms in Tanzania and create connections between enterprises.
While in Tanzania, Becht will meet representatives of the French community there and talk to members of the Tanzanian Government about the possibility of extending our cooperation projects, at a time when the country is experiencing dynamic growth, the statement elaborated.
This is it for today, and we hope you enjoyed our briefing. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter (see below) or follow us on Twitter (here) or joining us on Telegram (here). And in case you have any questions or comments, please consider dropping a word to our editors at email@example.com.