Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Tuesday visited a state-of-the-art gold smelter owned by Chinese firm Sunshine at Chunya in southern highland region of Mbeya where he expressed his approval.
Sunshine Group, the Chinese company, has already invested in the refinery plant in the area which could smelt gold by 99 percent, officials said.
Speaking shortly after he had inspected the smelter, Majaliwa said the government was considering inviting companies, including Sunshine Group, to construct modern smelters for the processing of gold and copper concentrates produced in Tanzania.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunshine Group was among several companies that have expressed interest to build smelters for gold and copper concentrates in the country.
Leo Le, Sunshine Group Director General, said the Group was among Chinese firms that have hugely invested in Tanzania, adding that Sunshine Group’s investments in the east African country were estimated at 100 million U.S. dollars.
Said Makwama, Mbeya region resident mining officer, told the Prime Minister that the gold produced in the region was directly sold in the global gold market, unlike the raw gold produced by large-scale mines in the country that has to be sent to refineries outside the country for purification.
Makwama said the recent overhaul of the legal, regulatory and fiscal framework governing the country’s mining sector, which took immediate effect last month, has already resulted in a sharp increase in revenue collection from the sector.
He said this has been helped by the hike of royalty on gold exports from 4 to 6 percent of gross value, and the introduction of a 1 percent clearance fee.
“In the month of July alone, the government received 151,363 dollars royalty from gold output at the Sunshine Group refinery, compared to the 87,000 dollars per month it used to receive before the passage of the new laws, which is a notable increase,” said Makwama.
The government in March banned further exports of gold and copper concentrates to push for the construction of smelters in Tanzania to ensure value addition of minerals.
The ban on exports of gold and copper concentrates has hit hard the country’s biggest gold miner, Acacia Mining Plc, which has since filed for international arbitration.
Most, if not all, of the existing large-scale mines in Tanzania export semi-pure bars of gold, technically known as dores, which are mainly sent to South Africa for purification. Enditem