Tanzanian energy
& minerals minister
William Ngeleja
 
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 February 2009 – The government of Tanzania – which is Africa’s third-biggest gold producer behind South Africa and Ghana – has announced that it is to introduce new mining laws within the next two months

Energy and minerals minister William Ngeleja told reporters here that the government had a commitment to introduce the new laws by April. “We are right on course,” he said.

A 12-person review committee set up by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete last year has recommended ways in which the East African nation could boost mining revenues and reduce the industry’s environmental and social costs.

Bloomberg News reports that the panel is suggesting that the government own 10% of all mining companies. Royalties on gold should increase from 3% to 5 %, the report said. The royalty on rough diamond and gemstones should be raised from 5% to 7%, while that for cut and polished stones should rise to 3 percent from zero. Tax relief on fuel imports for miners should be replaced with a levy, and the money should be used to build roads, it added.

A draft of proposed changes to the mining industry circulated by the government in December included increasing partial state ownership of mines, mining programme manager at the Dar es Salaam-based Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team Tundu Lissu said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

“There was talk of more joint ventures with the private sector, which is a shift from the previous ideology of complete corporate ownership,” Lissu continued. “They are also talking about increasing taxes.”

Tanzania’s mining and quarrying industry expanded by 11.9% in 2008, compared with 10.7% a year earlier. It makes up 3.4% of gross domestic product, according to statistics from the Tanzanian Finance Ministry.