Tanzania will become the third largest uranium producer in Africa by 2014 after agreement made for producing uranium in the Mkuju River Project.
Tanzania is embarking on a mission to drastically increase the amount of uranium being produced in the country. The uranium mining will take place under the Mkuju River Project (MRP), in South Eastern Tanzania.
The MRP has the potential to be a truly world class project and will position Tanzania as the third largest producer of uranium in Africa, behind Namibia and Niger, but overtaking Malawi and South Africa, who sit 11thand 12thin the world respectively.
The government has ensured that safety will be of the highest priority for the project, and that the highest standards of safety will be adhered to at all times. The zone has been given the allowance to pursue mining activities after the UN World Heritage Committee changed the borders of the nearby Selous Game Reserve to prevent any confusion with the mining operation.
There is obviously some concern from various groups surrounding possible negative environmental effects of the uranium sourcing, as well as worries regarding the health of the Tanzanian people, however the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Amb Khamis Kagasheki said this week: “The country has nothing to worry about”, and that “modern technology ensures safety to the environment and to lives.”
Although work on the project has not yet begun, it is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2012, with work continuing over a 21-month period.
South Eastern Tanzania is a fairly underdeveloped area of the country, and the project will bring jobs and prosperity to the region. The MRP estimates that 1,200 jobs will be created during the construction process, with a further 600 permanent positions being enabled during the mine’s lifespan, which is said to be 12 years.
Tanzania is expecting an average annual production of 1,900 tonnes of uranium, with scope for increased production in the second phase.