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Tanzanian mines minister turns on Chamber

Tanzanian mines
William Ngeleja
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 May 2010 – Tanzania’s Chamber of Minerals and Energy is trying to scare investors by warning that higher mining taxes will hinder the industry’s competitiveness, according to the country’s mines minister William Ngeleja.

Making this accusation here in an interview with Bloomberg News, Ngeleja said the Mining Bill, approved by parliament on 23 April, was a positive move and would not deter investors.

The chamber said earlier this week that the new mining legislation might do extensive damage to Tanzania’s mining industry, and called on the government to take urgent corrective measures.

“What is contained in the Bill isn’t so much different from other countries,” Ngeleja said. “The royalties we’ve come up with are not even on the highest side,” he added.

“The chamber is not trying to scare investors,” he reiterated. “We don’t believe it will deter investors. As we speak, there are investors coming from China, from everywhere,” he said.

“We want to increase the government and country’s participation in harnessing the resources,” the minister continued. “I welcome investors and they shouldn’t worry. The bill does not intend to frustrate investors — not at all.”

The royalty tax on gold producers will increase from 3 to 4%, according to the bill.

Tanzania is Africa’s third-largest gold producer, after South Africa and Ghana, and holds the only known deposit of tanzanite, a precious gemstone.