Transforming Tanzania's mining sector with strategic minerals on cards

DODOMA-Tanzania, one of the countries in the world with the most mineral resources, is taking a massive step in managing and harnessing its strategic mineral resources to elevate its economic development.
In terms of critical mineral resources, Tanzania is rich in Rare Earth Elements (REEs), Graphite, Nickel, Cobalt, and Heavy Mineral Sands. These natural resources are fundamental for industries ranging from electronics to renewable energy and electric vehicles.

As we know, the Paris Agreement targets Net Zero Carbon by 2050, which means firm reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are highly demanded.

Thus, clean energy technologies, like Nuclear Power and Electric Vehicles (EVs) among others, will play an important role in the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But these renewable technologies will need critical minerals or green minerals.

With the transition to clean energy technologies developing at a fast pace, critical minerals are in massive demand worldwide.

Let’s have a look at the key developments made by the Tanzanian Government on strategic mineral extraction so far:

Rare Earth Elements (REEs):

These are components of more than 200 products across a wide range of applications, especially high-tech consumer products.

In Tanzania, a large-scale mining license has been issued to Mamba Minerals Corporation Limited for the extraction of REEs in the Ngualla area, Songwe region. The commissioning is expected to commence in April 2025.


This silver-white hard metallic element can be hammered and shaped, capable of a high polish, and is resistant to wearing away. In Tanzania, we have Tembo Nickel Corporation Limited, a company built in partnership between the Government and Kabanga Nickel Company Limited to take the Kabanga Nickel project into development.

The nickel deposits discovered in Ngara, Kagera region, have an estimation of over 1.52 million tons. Mining is expected to start toward the end of 2026.

The country is also on its way to establishing a nickel refinery plant in the Kahama district, Shinyanga region.

This major metal refining plant, known as Tembo Nickel Refining Plant, is expected to solve the challenge faced by metal miners in Tanzania, who previously had to export concentrates abroad for refining, resulting in lower profits.

About 138 billion cubic feet of helium have been discovered at Lake Rukwa Basin, said to be the second-largest helium deposit in the world. Furthermore, there are about 20 other deposits of critical minerals in Tanzania, such as copper and lithium.


This soft black shiny form of carbon conducts electricity and is used in lead pencils and electrolytic anodes, as a lubricant, and as a moderator in nuclear reactors.
Tanzania has an estimation of over 18 million tons of graphite reserves mostly in the Lindi, Morogoro, and Tanga regions, said to be the 5th largest reserve of graphite in the world.

The country has granted several licenses for large-scale graphite mining, including one for Faru Graphite Corporation in the Mahenge area, Morogoro region, and Duma Tanzgraphite Limited in the Epanko area, Ulanga district.

For instance, Godmwanga Gems Limited stands at the forefront of Tanzania's graphite production industry, ranking among the top ten global producers of this strategic mineral.

With 100% ownership by Tanzanian stakeholder Mr. Godlisten Mwanga, the company is pioneering advancements in mining and refining operations, contributing significantly to both the local economy and international markets.

The company is spearheading Tanzania's graphite industry. It’s the first project in Africa dedicated to the mining and refining of graphite, securing Tanzania's position as a key player in the global market.

With exceptional production capacity, the company has demonstrated impressive performance, with plans to reach a daily production capacity of 800 tons post the completion of a state-of-the-art plant by October 2024.

Heavy Mineral Sands:

This is a class of metals or unrefined rocks deposit which is an important source of zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten, rare-earth elements, industrial minerals, diamond, sapphire, garnet, and occasionally precious metals or gemstones. These deposits are most usually formed in beach environments.

In Tanzania, Nyati Mineral Sands Limited has been granted a license to extract heavy mineral sands in the Tajiri area, Pangani district, Tanga region. They hold approximately 268 million tons of heavy mineral sands, including 74 million tons of proven reserves.

To achieve its goals in the global market, Tanzania has taken strategic initiatives as follows:

Firstly, it is working on improving its policy and legal frameworks to ensure proper governance of the mining sector and attract more foreign direct investment.

This includes agreements with international mining companies and the establishment of joint ventures to explore and extract these minerals.

Secondly, Tanzania is focusing on adding value to its mineral exports by processing them domestically before export.

This strategy is aimed at creating jobs and enhancing the local economy. For example, the nickel refinery plant and other similar initiatives are part of this broader strategy.

Thirdly, sustainability and environmental impact are being addressed. As the country increases its focus on critical minerals, it is also addressing the environmental and social impacts of mining.
Good governance and commitment to mitigating environmental damage are essential to ensure that the benefits of mineral extraction are maximized while minimizing negative effects on local communities and ecosystems.

Tanzania's efforts to utilize its rich deposits of strategic minerals are positioning itself as a key player in the global minerals market, particularly in the context of the global energy transition and the increasing demand for minerals essential for green technologies.


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