Dar es Salaam. Experts want policy formulation, modification of laws, harmonization of ministries and increased public awareness for the country to benefit from the abundant critical minerals found in the country.
They also want the country to conduct in-depth research to establish the opportunities associated with increased demand for critical minerals following the global shift from carbon-based energy sources to green or clean energy.
This call comes following a recent presentation at Policy Forum’s Breakfast Debate on “Governance of the Mineral Extractive Sector: Potential for Critical Minerals and Implications for Tanzania”.
The presentation was made by former Minerals Commissioner, Dr. Dalaly Kafumu, who was commissioned by the National Resources Governance Institute (NRGI) to carry out research on the region.
Speaking to The Citizen after the presentation, Dr Kafumu said the ongoing global energy transition requires Tanzania to formulate specific policies for critical minerals and to consider offering incentives to investors carrying out exploration and development. extraction of critical minerals.
“However, we are not obligated to have specific policies on critical minerals, rather amendments could be made to mineral laws to include sections on the development of critical minerals in the country,” he says. .
Dr Kafumu said the energy ministries; Minerals; Investment, industry and commerce involved in the energy sector should be harmonized to increase their understanding of their responsibilities in the energy transition journey.
He also says that the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry should really be responsible for attracting foreign domestic investment (FDI) in the use of critical minerals for the production of clean energy or equipment. used for this purpose.
According to him, the public should also be educated on the importance of clean energy in keeping the environment clean and mitigating climate change.
“Therefore, rural Tanzanians should be mobilized to switch to solar power. They should also have qualified technicians to maintain and repair damaged equipment in their respective areas,” he said.
But, the Director of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Silas Olan’g, said government, legislators and policy makers should conduct thorough research to establish the opportunities available based on the country context and how the country would benefit. with the critical minerals available.
“The country should also formulate policies that will spur the growth and prosperity of the entire mining industry and prevent the stunting of the production of key minerals such as gold or critical minerals that are sub- products of major minerals,” he said.
He said it was the right time for Tanzania to turn to clean energy, noting that statistics from the World Bank (WB) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) show that the demand for critical minerals keep increasing due to global transition.
According to him, the reports will increase the demand for critical minerals which will lead to price hikes, noting that proper strategic plans should be put in place for the country to benefit.
Furthermore, he said that Tanzania should not only focus on clean energy trade but also make better use of it in order to preserve the environment and join the global society in migration.
“The country should see the possibility of attracting investment in the production of equipment using critical minerals as raw materials such as car batteries,” he said.
He said the plant could use raw materials from other East African Community (EAC) member states to enable it to operate year-round and make it economically viable.
Mr Olan’g was supported by Dr Kafumu who said critical minerals are important in the production of clean energy (green energy) generation equipment such as solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal, electricity ocean wave energy, etc.
He said the government should attract domestic investment for the manufacture of these mentioned equipments and added that there is no reason for the country to import.
“What we are supposed to do is ensure that manufacturing companies invest in the country so that the activity is localized,” he says.
Most Used Minerals
According to Dr Kafumu, the IEA 2020 research results show that there is a significant increase in the use of critical minerals in clean energy technologies.
He said then that conventional cars constitute 40 kilos of critical minerals; electric cars have 200 kilograms of natural resources.
In the field of electricity production; reports indicate the amount of critical minerals in kilograms required to produce one megawatt of clean energy in parentheses as; offshore wind (15,000) and onshore wind (10,000).
Others according to him are; Solar PV (6,600); Nuclear (5,000); coal (3,000) and natural gas (1,500).
Highlighting the increase in demand for critical minerals, Dr Kafumu said that in the past investors coming into the country were looking for major minerals like gold, noting however that things have changed since 2015 when they shifted their preferences towards critical minerals.
“Therefore, economically, Tanzania is better placed to influence the global market, especially through foreign exchange earnings from exports,” he said.
He says known graphite deposits have ranked the country sixth in the world, giving it the opportunity to play a fair game in global trade.
According to him, once the country successfully attracts investment, clean energy manufacturing and generation equipment, the sector will be linked to other economies, creating more jobs, increasing income generated, especially foreign currencies; referring to it as a boom.
Tanzania’s Critical Minerals
According to Dr. Kafumu, in 2020, Tanzania’s copper production stood at 12,000 tons per year, which was insignificant in the world ranking.
However, in 2019, Tanzania estimated to have 18 metric tonnes of graphite, ranking it fifth in the world and that it would have a significant influence on global supply by 2025.
“Kabanga’s nickel resources with 58 metric tons represent 19% of world reserves. This will make Tanzania a global player in production by 2025,” he said.
Dr Kafumu said Mkuju’s uranium resources make up about one percent of the world’s reserves, and therefore can have a significant impact on global production.
According to him, Tanzania does not have a specific policy, code, strategy or plan dedicated to promoting critical minerals for the energy transition to combat climate change.
“The government considers the most critical minerals as strategic minerals in the national economic development strategy. It mentions some critical minerals in the Mining Act RE [Cap 123] 2018 Section 4(h)(b).
Lesson from others
Dr. Kafumu cited the United States, Canada and Australia as countries around the world that have successfully adopted policies, laws and strategies to attract the growth and protection of the sector.
For example; he said the United States formulated the 2014 Critical Minerals and Public Policy; listed 35 critical minerals; increasing domestic production and creating reliable supply chains.
He said the United States had also enacted the National Rare Earth Cooperative Act, 2014; the regulation of rare earth element (REE) minerals for the green economy and national security; the Critical Minerals Policy of 2013 and regulates exploration, mining and trade to support the energy transition.
But, Canada has listed 33 critical minerals, offers incentives for the extraction of minerals needed for clean energy technologies and electrification.
According to him, Australia has enacted the Critical Minerals Strategy 2019; developed the official list of critical minerals with 24 elements; promotes investment; provides incentives to stimulate innovation and increase competitiveness.