Mining a leading industrial sector in Tanzania with the value of mineral exports constantly increasing for the past several years. The sector is comprised of both small- and large-scale operations. Mining in Tanzania incudes metals (gold, iron ore, nickel, copper, cobalt, silver), industrial minerals (diamonds, tanzanite, ruby, garnet, limestone, soda ash, gypsum, salt, phosphate, gravel, sand, dimension stones and graphite), and fuel minerals (coal, uranium). Tanzania is also home to many rare earth and critical minerals that are currently in the exploration stage.
Tanzania earned around 2.3 billion U.S. dollars with minerals exports in 2019, a significant increase over 2018 level of 1.6 billion U.S. dollars. Gold had the highest contribution to the value of mineral exports. Tanzania is the 4th largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa, Ghana and Mali and is the world’s sole producer of the precious stone Tanzanite. Gold production currently stands at roughly 40 tonnes a year, copper at 2980 tonnes, silver at 10 tonnes and diamond at 112,670 carats.
Mining and quarrying activities had a very large contribution to Tanzania’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the first quarter of 2021. The sector recorded 10.2 percent of the GDP equivalent to 1,473,804 million TZS.
The Tanzania mining industry remains attractive to investors, given the next few years of significant diversification to the mining of nickel, uranium and coal. There is also availability of investment incentives and supply chain opportunities in the mining sector.
There have been a few changes in the Mining industry in the country. According to Petroleum Act 2015 PDF and the Mining Act 2010 PDF, license holders and contractors in the extractive sector are liable to pay taxes including corporate tax (30%), capital gain tax (30%), withholding tax (10%) and other taxes. Profits resulting from transfer or disposal of rights are also subject to taxes, which are collected by the Tanzania Revenue Authority. In June 2017, the Tanzanian government passed laws with significant implications for extractive sector governance in the country (including the Natural Wealth and Resources Contracts Bill, the Natural Wealth and Resources Bill and the Written Laws Act). One of the most significant implications of the bills is that they empower the national assembly to allow the government to re-negotiate any agreement considered inequitable and containing “unconscionable terms”. Other provisions entitle the government to stakes of at least 16 % in mining companies operating in the country, with the option to acquire up to 50%.
The Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency and Accountability Act 2015 PDF has provisions for all new concessions, contracts and licenses to be made available to the public.
One result of these amendments led to the establishment of Joint Venture Company known as Twiga Minerals Corporation Limited between the Government (16 percent shares) and Barrick Gold Corporation Company (84 percent shares); and payment of compensation of $100 million from Barrick Gold Corporation Company as initial settlement of the agreed $300 million.
The GoT would like to see more value-added activities in the country to include smelting and processing of minerals. As of 2020 two model gold smelters were built in Lwamgasa and Katente, a one stop mineral processing and export center, strengthening of mineral control and reduction of smuggling due to construction of a 24.5km wall around the Mirerani tanzanite mine. Also, 28 markets and 25 mineral centers have been established.
In recent years, mineral exploration has increased in several parts of the country. The sector has attracted substantial new foreign investment in mineral development exploration, with local investment surpassing $1 billion. Recent nickel, helium, graphite, uranium and coal finds have spurred increased interest on the part of investors.
Sub-Sector Best Prospects
The mining sector depends on imported machinery and supplies, and investors can import capital goods at zero duty. There are significant opportunities for the export of U.S. technology, machinery, and services. Mining companies have significant demand for better power alternatives as they currently rely on diesel generators. The Tanzanian Government encourages mining companies to procure local goods and services whenever possible, and many of the foreign mining executives would like to increase local consumption to support the Tanzanian economy. There is significant opportunity to supply foodstuffs, clean water, training, consultancy and other services. With an unreliable power grid and rail system, alternative energy and transport solutions are also in high demand.
- Establishment of gold refinery activities
- Supply equipment and explosives, grinding media, mill liners, etc., under joint venture with Tanzania entrepreneurs
- Establishment of value-added activities
- Gemstone cutting and polishing (lapidary). In 2010, the Government passed a new legislation banning the export of unprocessed gemstones in a bid to spur local value addition.
- Rock and mineral carvings
- Jewelry manufacturing utilizing gold and gemstones
- Mineral processing industry e.g smelters
- New areas in mineral exploration
The major pieces of legislation governing the industry today can be found on the website for Tanzania Chambers of Mines.
For specific information on current opportunities please contact the Commercial Section, U.S. Embassy Dar es Salaam, Email: Office.DarEsSalaam@trade.gov.