Bukoba — THE much-awaited Kabanga Nickel Project will soon start its operations, bringing fresh hopes to many in terms of labour and employment, according to President Jakaya Kikwete during his recent tour of Kagera Region.
Kabanga Nickel is an active mine exploration project 130 kms south west of Lake Victoria in Ngara District, Kagera Region. The project is a joint venture between Barrick Gold and Xstrata Nickel.
The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo said the government would buy shares which would later be sold to wananchi. He also appealed to Tanzanians to grab the opportunity for their wellbeing. He said a total of 80 megawatts would be produced at Rusumo Falls to generate power at Kabanga Nickel.
“This is a joint project between three countries -Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda with each country taking 27 megawatts. Kabanga’s 58 million tonne nickel resource is regarded as one of the best undeveloped greenfield nickel sulphide deposits in the world. Since 2005, there has been continued progress made in the development of the Kabanga Nickel Project with a significant investment to date of over US$205 million in drilling and evaluation studies.
The Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said Kabanga Nickel would also be linked on an international 1,672 kms railway network linking Dar es Salaam-Isaka-Keza (on Tanzanian side) -Mungozi (Burundi) to Kigali (Rwanda).
He elaborated that a total of 1,336 kms would be on Tanzanian side, 123 kms in Rwanda while the rest would be on Burundi side. Due to the depth of the resource, Kabanga will be developed as an underground mine.
The mine will use conventional underground mining and processing technology, exporting a nickel concentrate to international markets. The expected mine life of Kabanga, with current resources, is approximately 30 years. A total of 410 kilometres of diamond drilling has been completed that has expanded the size of the mineral resource.
Kabanga has a total estimated Measured and Indicated Resource of 37.2 million tonnes grading 2.63 per cent nickel and an inferred resource of 21 million tonnes grading 2.6 per cent nickel. Contingent upon the results of the feasibility study and government infrastructure improvement projects, it is expected that the operation may be capable of producing more than 40,000 tonnes per year of nickel-in-concentrate at full production.
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