Tanzania to cancel 100 mining licenses

MWANZA, Tanzania—Some 102 mineral rights licenses are to be cancelled after the 30-day grace period given by government recently expired.
 The Minister for Energy and Minerals Prof Sospeter Muhongo told East African Business Week, the relevant rights would be cancelled and repossessed by the government then probably awarded to small-scale miners.
This decision is in conformity with a recent directive by Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete while on a tour in the mineral rich Geita region, on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Kikwete said the dormant mineral rights must be repossessed soon to give a chance for those who are ready to take over and work them. He warned that hoarding of mineral rights by sitting on them for many years without operations was against the law.
Tanzania government through the Ministry of Energy and Minerals issued a 30-day notice in September, with intention to cancel mineral rights to 102 owners due to failure to comply with the country’s Mining Act 2010. The notice expired on October 8, 2013.
Professor Muhongo said despite the fact that the notice has expired there were legal issues to be followed and sorted out between the government and the defaulters.
“Our people are living in abject poverty while others keep hoarding mineral rights for years. This is unacceptable,” Prof. Muhongo told East African Business Week.
The defaulters failed to fulfill the requirement of Sections 36 and 52 of the Act.
The licenses were issued between 2006 and 2012. The owners are from Dar es Salaam (94), Mwanza (3), Dodoma (3) Kilwa, Lindi (1) and Boston, USA (1).
The Mining Act 2010, Section 36 reads in part; ‘the holder of a prospecting license shall commence prospecting operations within a period of three months, or such further period as the licensing authority may allow, from the date of the grant of the license or such other date as is stated in the license on commencement period.’
A person who contravenes shall be in default and commits an offence, and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than Tsh20 million.
While Section 52 says the holder of a mining license shall develop the mining area and carry on mining operations in substantial compliance with his programme of mining operations with due diligence.