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US Ambassador Urges Tanzania to Enhance Local Value Addition for its Critical Minerals

Ambassador Battle argues that Tanzania has a right to insist that anyone who gets its critical mineral resources should create first and second-tier value addition to creates wealth for its population

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The United States Ambassador to Tanzania, Michael A. Battle, has stressed the importance of adding value to Tanzania’s critical mineral resources before export as an important step for building wealth for the Tanzania’s population.

Ambassador Battle spoke during the Democracy Forum on May 17, 2024. The forum was held at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Zanzibar, organized by the Centre for Strategic Litigation, LHRC, Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), and WAHAMAZA.

“Tanzania has a right to insist that anyone who gets its critical mineral resources must create first and second-tier value addition that creates wealth in Tanzania,” argued Ambassador Battle.

He added: “The reason we believe so strongly in this, is that when you look at Tanzania as a country with about 65 million people, on its way to becoming 130 million people by 2050, there is no way in the world that Tanzania can afford to have that large population without an industrial base, without a manufacturing base.”

In a bid to gain more value on its critical and strategic minerals reserve, Tanzania has tabled a bill in parliament that defines critical and strategic minerals.  Furthermore, on March 22, 2024, Tanzania granted Tembo Nickel, a subsidiary of Lifezone Metals and the operator of the Kabanga Nickel project, a license for a multi-metal processing facility.

Under the license, Tembo Nickel will establish a processing facility in Kahama at the Buzwagi Special Economic Zone to refine nickel, copper, and cobalt.

A large share of the mineral to be processed is expected to come from the Kabanga Nickel project, the world’s largest and highest-grade nickel sulfide deposits. It is estimated that the deposit contains approximately 44 million tons, with an average in-situ nickel grade of 2.61%, along with 0.35% copper and 0.19% cobalt.

The facility is also looking to process minerals from surrounding neighbors, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe as well as other minerals in the country.

The refinery is expected to use proprietary metal refining technology called Hydromet Technology. A technology that offers advantages such as low emissions, and affordable operating and capital costs, and is considered a more effective alternative to traditional metal smelting methods.

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