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Seized mineral sands up for sale

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday released for sale to potential customers, the 277 containers of mineral sand seized at the Dar es Salaam Port three years ago.

The release of the containers was announced by the President immediately after the official signing of nine agreements with Barrick Gold Corporation following the conclusion of talks that facilitated the formation of a joint venture firm - Twiga Mineral Corporation.

Twiga Mineral Corporation is a newly formed joint venture between Barrick Gold Company and the government of Tanzania, a firm that will now oversee the operations of mines formerly operated by the Canadian mining company.

Addressing the dignitaries who witnessed the signing of the historic milestone at the State House in Dar es Salaam, President Magufuli directed the sale of the containers to be administered by Twiga Mineral Corporation.

“Devise a good strategy for ownership of the containers to be assumed by Twiga Mineral Corporation, and then look for reliable customers to purchase the containers of mineral sand… the benefits will be distributed accordingly. “I am quite aware that the containers had already been sold to a buyer; it means the buyer is available,” said Dr Magufuli.

Besides, there were many stories which went round purporting to show that the containers were destined for smelting, but this wasn’t the case.

He disclosed the real picture, pointing out that the sale of the containers had already been settled while they were still within the country.

“It is indeed obvious that the buyer is known to you and had settled a certain percentage for the sale of the containers,” he said, adding: “The offer is open for the particular buyer to do a fresh purchase now that we are comfortable, the reaped revenues will be shared within the joint venture company,” noted the President.

According to him, some individuals were reluctant to believe on the value of engagement as among the best solutions for reaching a consensus, urging them to do so now that the long endeavour had become a reality.

It’s my assumption that over-invoicing, a practice intends to dilute the share has not room because the reached agreement will reflect the true picture, He maintained that Tanzania was the best country for investment and the goal was to arrive at a win-win situation.

Having heard of the containers, at one of the occasions the President made an impromptu visit at the Dar port where he witnessed the containers before directing the Inspector General of Police to hasten investigations on issue.

The impromptu visit to the port had sought to, among other aims, establish if his directives on import and export cargos, including mineral sand, were implemented.

President Magufuli commissioned two expert probe teams, which after intensive investigations presented reports to the Head of State in May and June, 2017.

The first probe team under Prof Abdulkarim Mruma, the head of the Geological Survey of Tanzania revealed that all minerals found in the 277 containers, including gold, silver, sulfur, copper and strategic minerals were worth between 829.4bn/ and 1.438trl/-.

Presenting the report findings before President Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam, the Probe Committee Chairman Prof Abdulkarim Mruma said his team unearthed huge quantities of gold concentrate in the mineral sand investigated at between 671 gram per tonne and 2, 375 gram per tonne, an average of 1,400 grams per tonne, meaning 28kgs of gold in one container weighing 20 tonnes of mineral sand.

Reports also shows that an average of 1.4kg of gold per tonne of mineral sand were identified in the containers, seven times as much as reported by TMAA. It also uncovered other discrepancies.

The second report, concerning the economic impact of the mineral sands exports, which was led by Nehemiah Osoro, revealed that Acacia had under-declared revenues and tax payments over a number of years, occasioning loss to the government of over 380 trillion/-.

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Mwandishi: MAUREEN ODUNGA

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