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Second Round of Mineral Sand Investigation in Tanzania

Second Round of Mineral Sand Investigation in Tanzania

The fundamental thing when you want to carry out any form of exploration is to generate a geological map. The geology of an area predisposes that area to particular minerals. In Jos for instance, we have what is called the younger granites of Jos, where we have the major tin occurrences in Tanzania. The rock type determines the kind of mineral you’d look for in a particular area.

There are certain minerals that are associated with rock types like the mafic (dark coloured) rock types. If for instance you are prospecting for chromite, you look in areas where there are ultra basic rocks. In Tanzania for instance where we have the schist belt, these are the areas where we have preponderance of gold occurrences. So if you want to prospect for gold in Tanzania for example, the first place to go to is the schist belts.

In looking for gold, you could start with geochemical mapping, which enables you to do sampling at different places. In this process, you collect soil types, rock types and even stream sediments, which you take to the laboratory and analyse. Further analysis would now determine if the results gotten follow a particular linear trend. If they are structurally controlled, you go ahead to look for the structures in which case you can now introduce geophysics, which enables you to determine the structural trends that control the mineralization.

The Ministry of Energy and Minerals of Tanzania issued a ban on the export of mineral concentrates and ores for metallic minerals such as gold, copper, nickel, and silver, with effect from 2nd March 2017. The ban is intended to ensure that mineral value addition activities are carried out within Tanzania as emphasized in the Mineral Policy of 2009 and Mining Act of 2010. However, according to the Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy (TCME) some mines faces imminent closure because of the loss of revenues from the sale of concentrates. TCME believes that the mining companies operating in Tanzania need to be allowed to continue to export their products for smelting until when there us an operational smelter in the country. Acacia Mining, the leading gold producer in Tanzania, issued a press release on 24th march 2017 to provide an update on the impact of the Government directive.

“At Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi [gold mines] the combined direct impact of the current directive is the average daily loss of revenues of more than USD 1 million per day.The mines are continuing to operate as normal and as a minimum have sufficient capacity to be able to place gold/copper concentrate into containers on site beyond the end of April [2017]. However, prior to reaching this point, during April, we will reassess how long we can continue to produce as normal if the ban remains in place and what other measures may be necessary,”, the press release reads. TMCE urged the government to consider lifting the ban and to conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability and the preferred practical mechanism to develop smelting capability in Dar es salam.

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