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THE government expects to earn 220bn/-annually in royalties and different taxes from the nation’s graphite industry.
Through the Ministry of Minerals, the government said over the weekend that the earnings will start flooding in upon completion of the plant testing and commencement of full operation at the Mahenge graphite project under the Australian-based Black Rock mining company.
The Australian firm has also promised to build the giant graphite mining plant in Ulanga District under the Mahenge graphite project. The Mahenge project is ranked the world’s fourth largest graphite resource.
The company has successfully managed to transport the sample from Black Rock’s Mahenge graphite project, South of Ifakara, to Lakefield lab in Australia for a second pilot plant. The consignment was transported by the rail through Tanzania- Zambia Railway (TAZARA) from Ifakara to Dar es Salaam port.
Speaking during the launch of transportation of graphite by rail from Ifakara to Dar es Salaam port, the Eastern Zone mineral officer Theresia Ntuke said the project is expected to greatly contribute economically to the nation, producing at least 80,000 tonnes of graphite, annually. She said that the project is later expected to produce at least 250,000 tonnes, annually.
Ms Ntuke who represented the Deputy Minister for Minerals, Mr Dotto Biteko, said the project is expected to contribute three per cent royalty, which is about 14 million US dollar (over 30bn/-), with the firm also paying about 60 million dollars (about 130bn/-) in taxes.
She put the company’s expected total royalties and other taxes to 220bn/- per annum, adding that the firm will also offer 150 permanent jobs to Tanzanians and other indirect employment. According to Ms Ntuke, the government through the Ministry of Minerals, promises full support to ensure project progression.
The project is expected to contribute immensely to the social-economic development of communities living in Ulanga and neighbouring Kilombero District. Earlier, officials with the company said Mahenge area has an estimated graphite deposits of about 69.9 million tonnes, which could bring in over 200bn/- in royalties to the government, annually.
According to Black Rock Chief Executive Officer John de Vries, the large flake size and high purity of Mahenge graphite tested to date suggests that it can be applied to the premium battery market as well as traditional applications.
The non-metallic mineral is considered as high-demand item, thanks to technological advancements in the world, its other applications ranging from the manufacturing of pencils to automobiles, mobile phones and electric cars.
He said the initial testing produced premium-sized product of 97.5 per cent carbon from a three-stage flotation cleaning circuit, with a small amount of polishing.
He said SGS processed a 90-tonne sample from Mahenge and produced 10 tonnes of concentrate that Black Rock is distributing to potential global customers and partners.
Black Rock has also submitted a draft Environmental and Social Impact Statement for Mahenge and commenced development of a resettlement policy framework for residents around the project area.
Mr De Vries added that the company is determined to demonstrate its ingenuity and perseverance.
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