Niobium, ships manufacturing mineral discovered in Mbeyaadmin
Tanzania might become a ship building nation in future following the discovery of large quantities of Niobium, a salt resistant mineral at Panda Hill in Mbeya region.
The Southern Highlands Mining Officer, Alex Magayane told this paper in Mbeya last week that prospecting and environmental impact assessment had already been done by two companies, adding that mining would start any time.
He mentioned one of the companies as Rex Well, a subsidiary of Euronet Africa of UK, which he said was already through with the feasibility study.
He said according to the survey done last year by the firm, ’’the area has about 90 million tonnes of Niobium, of which 200 million are industrial reserves and 140 are inferred reserves.’’
Magayane said the firms would use open cast method to mine the mineral as most of it ”is found on the near surface.”
The officer, who was speaking on the potentiality of mining in the Southern HIghlands region, said that the area was endowed in key strategic minerals and that it is their exploitation that would give the country a major leeway to development.
He said the Southern Highlands in general and Mbeya Region in particulalar were endowned with minerals that ’’are key to the country’s developemnt.’’
He mentioned some of them as coal found in Kiwira and Mchuchuma and iron which is found in Liganga, niobium found in (Panda) Mbalizi, gypsum found in Songwe and traventine marble only found at Songwe and alluvial marble found at Igawa in Mbeya Region and at Njombe in Iringa Region.
The officer said that in the long run, Tanzania might not import marble because of the increasing efforts by miners and industrialists to shape artfacts from the mineral.
He gave the example of some of the artifacts of the current Bunge building which he said were made from travetine marble manufactured by Marmo E Granito Mines in Mbeya Region.
He said other minerals include carbon dioxide mined by Tanzania Oxygen at Mwakaleli in Rungwe District.
Magayane said a country’s production was measured in the amount of power and building materaials it produced like cement and iron and not by the quantity of gold it mined.
He said the fact that the Lake Region was more endowed in gold and diamonds, did not mean that it had bigger potentials for the country’s development.
He said the non-existence of minerals that could be used in power production and in setting meterlurgical industries rendered the Lake Region not as key as the Southern Highlands in charting out the country’s future industiral take off.