CHINESE companies have been awarded licences for construction of a mineral smelter and two gold refineries in Tanzania worth more than $100m, said Reuters citing the country’s minerals minister, Doto Biteko.
“After carefully assessing the financial capability and history of those companies, we have issued licences for the construction of two gold refineries and a smelter,” said Biteko. Some 37 companies had expressed an interest, he said.
“We will also soon award special mining licences to two companies to build large-scale mines whose individual investment is above $100m,” he added.
The introduction of Chinese investors comes in sharp contrast to the two year dispute with long-standing Tanzanian gold producer, Acacia Resources. It is the subject of a takeover by its largest shareholder, Barrick Gold, after the Tanzanian government refused to ever deal with the company again.
“Gold worth a total of 136.7bn Tanzanian shillings, equal to $60m, has been traded through the new mineral centres since March and the government has collected 7.7bn shillings royalty and clearance fees,” Biteko said.
Small-scale miners produce around 20 tonnes of gold a year, but 90% is illegally exported, a parliamentary report said.